How They Did It (Part One)
May 20, 2010
This is the first of a five-part series explaining, in remarkable detail, how Obama and the Democrats came to pass health care reform. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second part, which reveals how Ted Kennedy wooed Max Baucus and what Rahm Emanuel promised the drug industry. When the president and his closest advisers huddled in the Oval Office last August, they had every reason to panic. Their signature piece of legislation, comprehensive health care reform, was mired in the Senate Finance Committee and the public was souring on it.
April 20, 2010
Some two dozen executives from large corporations will be descending on Capitol Hill today to make the case against over-regulating derivatives. The “fly-in” is being organized in part by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce through a group called the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users, according to the Chamber’s Ryan McKee. Many corporations use derivatives to hedge against fluctuations in the price of their inputs—for example, an airline might sign a contract to lock in future fuel prices, thereby passing the risk along to someone else.
March 22, 2010
Earlier this month, in a profile of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, I identified two tactical mistakes the president had made while trying to pass health care reform. The first was his extensive efforts to reach a bipartisan deal—in particular, allowing Montana Senator Max Baucus to negotiate with Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee through most of the summer before weighing in. The second was Obama’s decision to attack insurance companies late last July after months of trying to co-opt them and other powerful groups.
What, You Have a Better Idea for Cost Control?
March 07, 2010
David Brooks thinks it. David Gregory thinks it. The Washington Post editorial page thinks it. And, what the heck, I think it. If health care reform passes Congress, the final legislation probably won't cut the cost of medical care as quickly as seems possible on paper. But would the legislation make a good start--as good a start as possible, given political reality? Brooks, Gregory, the Post, and plenty of other critics seem to think the answer is "no." I think they are nuts.
March 03, 2010
The second, more combative year of Obama’s presidency starts now.
March 03, 2010
You think it’s so great being Rahm Emanuel?
It's Time to Act
February 26, 2010
February 26, 2010 President Barack Obama Senator Harry Reid Majority Leader Senator Max Baucus, Chairman, Committee on Finance Senator Tom Harkin Chairman, Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House of Representatives Congressman Charles Rangel Committee on Ways & Means Congressman Henry A. Waxman Committee on Energy and Commerce Congressman George Miller Committee on Education and Labor Dear Mr. President, Congressmen and Congresswomen Our health care system is in crisis.
Be There and Be Square
February 24, 2010
The White House has released some more details about Thursday's Blair House meeting: Who will be there and the shape of the table where they'll all be sitting: The President will be seated in the middle of one side of the hollow square, with the Vice President, Secretary Sebelius, and congressional Leadership seated alongside him.
BREAKING: Tauzin Out at PhRMA
February 12, 2010
Billy Tauzin announced on Thursday that he is stepping down as leader of PhRMA, the drug industry trade group.
Nice Guys Finish Last
February 11, 2010
Everyone remembers that George W. Bush’s first tax cut was contentious when Congress considered it back in 2001. So contentious, in fact, that the Bushies didn’t even try passing it under normal Senate procedures. The GOP leadership, worried that it couldn’t collect 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster, relied on reconciliation, the Senate rule that allows budget-related measures to pass with a simple majority. What fewer people remember is the margin by which Bush’s tax cut finally passed the Senate. As it happens, the number of yeas was 62—including 12 Democrats.