What would it take to get Susan Collins on board with the health reform bill? After months of sending hot and cold signals about the bill, the Maine Republican made remarks yesterday that suggested she might be willing to support the legislation if certain amendments were put through.
I was struck by the question that Mark Penn asks in his column, “Turning to the left or the center?” What would public relations executive and former Clinton advisor Penn, who claims to represent the political center, have to say about the choices facing the Obama administration? Penn is no dummy, and I was not disappointed.
One of the most frustrating consequences of an Election Day like Tuesday is that it invariably (if fleetingly) transforms moderate politicians with no particular insight into the dynamics of public opinion into all-knowing sages. More to the point, it elevates their perfect-for-every-occasion view of politics, which says that if your party suffers a setback, the reason must be that it was too far to one side of the political spectrum, and so the answer is obviously to move back to the middle.
Minnesota governor and potential 2012 presidential nominee Tim Pawlenty made headlines yesterday when he criticized fellow Republican Olympia Snowe for her "deviations" from conservative GOP orthodoxy, and refused to say whether or not he was happy that she was a Republican. Snowe shot back at Pawlenty today, telling Politico, “I've been a lifelong Republican -- I haven't changed, I don't know what the problem is -- I really don't. I know Gov.
After a weekend of furious activity, Democratic leaders in the Senate think they are close to getting the votes they need in order to pass an "opt-out" version of the public option. But they feel like President Obama could be doing more to help them, with one senior staffer telling TNR on Sunday that the leadership would like, but has yet to receive, a clear "signal" of support for their effort. The White House, for its part, says President Obama supports a strong public option, as he always has--and that, as one senior administration official puts it, the president will support the Senate le
And I thought yesterday was crazy. Brian Beutler has sources telling him that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is close to rounding up 60 votes for an "opt-out" public option, but that the White House is trying to slam on the brakes. The main reason? Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, whose support the White House covets, is against the idea and prefers some sort of trigger. One source tells Beutler: They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger...
Jacob S. Hacker is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books and articles, both scholarly and popular, including The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream (2006; paperback, January 2008) and Health At Risk: America’s Ailing Health System and How to Heal It (2008). As closed-door discussions continue in the Senate, the idea of triggering the public health insurance option is once again on the table.
Darren Samuelsohn dusts off the crystal ball and tries to figure out if the climate bill can garner 60 votes in the Senate. By his count, there are now 67 senators in play—that includes 43 likely "yes" votes (including the two Maine Republicans, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins), 17 dithering Dems, and seven Republican fence-straddlers: Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, George Voinovich, Richard Lugar, Judd Gregg, and George LeMieux.
Congress has been formally debating health care reform for almost nine months. And the country, as a whole, has been debating it for years. But now that the last congressional committee with jurisdiction has approved legislation, lawmakers are confronting the essential conundrum that's bedeviled this issue all along: Their desire to expand health insurance coverage exceeds their willingness to pay for it. As deliberations move to the House and Senate floors, then on to conference-committee negotiations, something has to give.
Now, two people will have to choose. The fate of the health care bill is largely in the hands of Barack Obama and Olympia Snowe. The Finance Committee's vote on Tuesday to send its bill to the Senate floor vindicated President Obama's strategy of giving Congress wide latitude to write the early drafts. Major health reform has advanced further than it ever has before. But Obama must now abandon his preference for intervening forcefully only after House and Senate bills go to a conference committee.