House Democrats Delay Health Care Bill

I pointed out yesterday that Democrats made a major mistake when they tied their credibility to porkulus, and then allowed Capitol Hill to debate health care rationing and cap-and-tax at the same time. Congress cannot both walk and chew gum – especially when they’re starting to worry about the 2010 political climate. The fights over which should be a top priority, and the uncertainty over the full cost of the Obama agenda, make it very difficult for Members of Congress to decide how to proceed.

As a result, it should be no surprise that Democrat leaders can’t rope a restive caucus together – even to debut the first draft of a health care rationing bill:

House Democrats’ health care bill has been delayed indefinitely as leaders continue negotiations with fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

Committee chairmen had planned to release their bill on Friday and begin marking it up on Monday, but notices were sent out this morning noting that both the release and markup would be delayed.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), who chairs the Blue Dogs’ health care task force, warned leadership in a two-hour meeting Thursday night that his group would bolt unless a series of demands were met, including altering reimbursement rates under a proposed public option so that they are not based on Medicare rates.

Ross said he and other Blue Dogs will meet Friday with Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) in hopes of charting a path forward on the health care measure.

If Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are as smart as they’re cracked up to be, they’ll end the talk about a second stimulus promptly. Once a decision is made, Congress will know how to proceed. And the correct decision is ‘no.’