A Good Friday for Obama?
By Ben Pershing
Oct. 2 could end up being one of the Obama administration's better days, as health-care reform cleared a key hurdle this morning and the president made an in-person pitch that may have secured the 2016 Olympics for his hometown.
The Senate Finance Committee finished slogging its way through hundreds of amendments in the wee hours of Friday morning, setting up a final committee vote next week and the next stage in the reform fight. "As the panel completed the measure that is expected to form the backbone of health-reform legislation, a political consensus large enough to carry the plan to final passage appeared to emerge," the Washington Post writes. The way forward is less than clear, as Senate leaders must produce a combined bill and then navigate it through another barrage of amendments on the floor. Harry Reid said Thursday, "We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk," though it's not clear exactly what he meant. Will Tom Carper's compromise proposal to give states the option of including a public plan be enough to assuage liberals? Jonathan Cohn points out that the bill already appears to give states that option, based on language that Ron Wyden successfully added before the markup began.
Across the aisle, the New York Times observes that Republicans "have seized on a new line of attack: that the proposed overhaul is a vehicle for a barrage of hidden and not-so-hidden tax increases." Actually, the line of attack is not so new, but it has gotten louder in recent days as Democrats' reform plans have inched closer to reality. John Boehner claimed Thursday that he had not met "anyone" in his travels who actually supported a public option, and claimed the idea was "about as unpopular as a garlic milkshake." Predictably, that brought forth a parade of Democrats accusing the Republican leader of being out-of-touch, and some angry garlic aficionados. Conservatives are also concerned about this twist: Following the example of the government's crackdown on companies that got financial bailouts, the Finance panel voted to limit the compensation for executives at health insurance companies that get significantly more business as a result of health-care reform, the Wall Street Journal notes.
October 2, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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