While Senator Reid admitted in a letter sent to every Republican Senator that his merged bill between the Senate Finance and Senate HELP Committee versions is a vapor bill and “does not exist,” the Speaker is forcing her House Members to walk the plank and vote.
Senator Reid says he is waiting for various scores to come back from the Congressional Budget Office, but you have to wonder why the Speaker is forcing her membership to walk the plank on a much more thermonuclear subject than cap-and-trade — the health bill, which is really the biggest vote of the year on spending, abortion, taxes, immigration, the deficit, and government control of the lives of Americans?
As the Speaker forces House Members to walk through that minefield, ABC NEWS is reporting no health care until next year:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has yet to release the bill he eventually plans to bring to the Senate floor. Reid is still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to come up with an estimated cost of several possible variations of his bill before deciding which one to introduce in the Senate.
That cost estimate, Democrats tell ABC News, is not expected until next week.
Asked directly by ABC News, “Will you pass health care reform this year?” Reid pointedly did not answer “yes.”
Instead, he replied, “We are not going to be bound by any timetables,” adding, “We are going to do this as quickly as we can.”
Perhaps the ignorance of Senate procedure on the House side is playing to Speaker Pelosi’s advantage. Since Senator Reid rejected Sen. Snowe’s trigger in favor for a public option, it takes but one single Senator — either a Democratic or Independent Senator — to cause the entire bill to fail on either the cloture vote on the motion to proceed or on the cloture vote on the bill.
What if the House votes and the bill dies in the Senate? How will the vulnerable, behind in the polls Democrats in the House feel then?
Some are pointing to The Hill article today that cites liberals who have been repeating promises that Senator Reid has said Lieberman has made, not kill the bill.
On the other hand, Senator Lieberman’s spokesperson has been clear on this point, as The Hill article states:
“Lieberman’s spokesman said Monday that nothing has changed from last week, when the senator said he would support calling up the bill but would block a final vote.
“Sen. Lieberman has made it clear that he will vote for the motion to proceed to the healthcare bill but will oppose cloture on a final bill if it contains a public option because he believes that it would worsen our national debt problem,” said Lieberman aide Marshall Wittmann.”
Do House Members really want to put their faith in Senator Reid’s ability to deliver?
Or perhaps Senator Reid is going to disappoint the left by telling them he must drop the public option to pass the bill in the Senate?