The House just passed Fred Upton’s bill. He calls it the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” because its ostensible purpose is to make sure people losing their existing health plans can keep them. It might or might not have that effect. But an equally accurate description would be “Go Back to the Old Lousy Health Care System Act.” Under its provisions, insurers could keep denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, continue selling policies that have huge gaps, and so on.
Three reasons the Democrats won
It’s over. The Senate voted yes. The House voted yes. President Obama signed the bill and, on Thursday, the federal government is open for business again.
Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, approached Democrats with a new offer over the weekend: He and his colleagues would vote to open the government and increase its borrowing authority, as long as Democrats would agree to accept the depleted spending levels of budget sequestration. Harry Reid, leader of the Senate Democrats, said no thanks. It was the third time in less than a week Democrats had spurned a Republican overture.
House Republican leaders on Thursday morning announced that they have a new proposal and it hews to the outlines media outlets reported overnight. Basically, House Republicans would leave the government shut down but give it about six weeks' worth of borrowing authority. Assuming I understand what the Republicans have in mind, the idea would be to use that time for some kind of broader negotiation on fiscal policy, entitlements, etc.—and, somewhere along the way, to start funding normal government operations again.
House Republican leaders are starting to look pretty desperate.
For a few brief moments on Monday evening, it looked like House Republicans might finally come to their senses.
Lots of people think John Boehner has lost control of the House Republican caucus. Apparently John Boehner does, too.
Thursday, Nancy Pelosi and other female House Democrats braved the heat on the Capitol steps and rolled out a plan to put working women’s issues in the national spotlight. The campaign centers on equal pay and work-family balance policies like paid medical leave and affordable childcare; for an excellent explainer on what Congress should do here, read my colleague Jonathan Cohn’s piece from this morning.
Nancy Pelosi and a handful of Democratic colleagues plan to unveil a new policy agenda on Thursday afternoon. The focus will be on initiatives to help women—mostly, by making sure they get equal treatment in the workplace and helping them navigate work-family issues. The specifics won’t be available until the actual event, scheduled on Capitol Hill for about 1:30 p.m. But it’s safe to assume the agenda will include some familiar ideas, like making it easier for workers to take parental or medical leaves and improving access to good childcare.
Republicans want to reduce the size of the federal government, and they won’t take no for an answer. “I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,” Grover Norquist famously declared. And in negotiations over the fiscal cliff, they have insisted on cutting spending rather than raising taxes. “The President wants to pretend that spending isn’t the problem,” House Speaker John Boehner has complained. Democrats, for their part, have responded defensively.