Washington: January 20, 2010- IR Summary/NYT -
Healthcare issue is of course affected by Scott Brown’s decisive Senate victory in Massachusetts; the fate of the Democratic health care overhaul clearly indicates that they may not quickly approve a Senate-passed health care measure and send it to President Obama.
The defeat looks to have shaken the confidence of the House democratic leaders and so the balance is lost to some extent, who on Tuesday night even as Mr. Brown’s victory was being declared, top lawmakers said they were weighing their options. But the prospect of passing the health care overhaul by pushing the Senate plan through the House appeared to significantly diminish.
Noting that the election in Massachusetts turned on a variety of different factors such as the economy and local issues, Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland and a top party campaign strategist, acknowledged that resistance to the emerging health legislation also factored in the outcome of the Massachusetts race.
“Health care was also part of the debate and the people of Massachusetts were right to be upset about provisions in the Senate bill,” Mr. Van Hollen said, referring to “special deals” included in the bill to win the votes of Democratic senators and round up 60 votes.
The comment was a clear indication that Democrats were recalibrating their approach on health care, leaving them a diminishing and politically difficult set of choices.
Pushing the Senate plan through the House was favored by some lawmakers and strategists as a way to quickly deliver the president a bill on a signature domestic achievement, since it would require just one final House vote. Remaining problems could be worked out with a subsequent piece of legislation.
But many House Democrats expressed deep reservations about the Senate bill. Those complaints, combined with the message sent by the Massachusetts electorate, apparently were sufficient to leave Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants reluctant by Tuesday night about moving in that direction.
Democrats now face decisions on whether to give up on the health care fight – an approach few lawmakers appear willing to entertain – or perhaps pull together a scaled-back measure and use special procedural rules that would eliminate the need for 60 votes in the Senate. More