The post-mortems on the debt deal are showing the degree to which, as I've suspected, the Obama administration completely misunderstood the Republican Party. Laura Meckler and Gerald Seib's tick-tock is especially good. Here are the negotiations bumping up against the fundamental ideological divide in American politics: The next day, a Friday, a small group of Boehner confidantes warned the speaker about the political risks of working with the president. "The danger to him is making a deal with no one standing behind him," said one.
On one end of Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday, administration staffers were busy making preparations for an event that will likely determine whether comprehensive health care reform goes forward. And on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, their counterparts in Congress were busy making the case for why it should. For several hours, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled the chief executive officer of Wellpoint, to see why the company's California subsidiary was raising health insurance premiums by nearly 40 percent for some customers.
Negotiations over health care reform continued into the wee hours of Friday morning, as President Obama presided over a White House meeting with his top advisers and congressional leaders. The group met in the Cabinet room. Obama didn't leave until just before 1 a.m. The congressional delegation, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, didn't depart until 1:25. No agreement was reached and talks will continue today. But several sources from the administration and Capitol Hill suggested that a deal was getting close.
Via Martin Vaughan and Laura Meckler at the Wall Street Journal, House and Senate negotiators may decide to expand the Medicare payroll tax, so that it includes investment income. Why is this important? Because it helps answer the question of how we'll pay for health reform, which--at the moment--is the number one sticking point between the House and Senate. Remember, the House would pay for expanded health coverage in part through higher income taxes.