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A Bad Start for the HELP Committee

"Rather than marking up the bill before us, I wish we could start with a real bipartisan bill that could reform health care for all Americans," says Sen. Mike Enzi. His argument has two parts: He wishes the committee were not considering this bill and he wishes the committee was not holding this mark up.

In other words, the Republicans on HELP feel, or say they feel, that they were frozen out of this process. They say the bill is inadequate and its path to creation has been unforgivably partisan. HELP isn't a traditionally bipartisan committee, and in Kennedy's absence, its lost its central and most powerful dealmaker. So this isn't fully a surprise.

But it doesn't look good. HELP right now is caught in the worst of both worlds: It has an unfinished bill missing key items that's saddled with a terrible CBO estimate. In part, those items are missing because staffers wanted more time to negotiate with Republicans. But the committee's Republicans are viciously attacking the bill, the process, and arguing for a new start and a new, more relaxed, schedule.

Right now, the HELP process looks deeply troubled. Their bill is unfinished, the CBO estimate was a mess, and the Committee's Republicans are locked in opposition. Which means that the liberal alternative to the Finance Committee's bill is starting out behind the eight ball. That's not a good situation.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 17, 2009; 11:12 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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May be that is all part of the plan - to drop the ball on HELP Bill version so that Finance Committee Bill advances.... Just speculating.

Posted by: umesh409 | June 17, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I maintain that Mr. Klein has not used the word "viciously" properly in this post pursuant to any of M-W's six definitions for the word.

"1: having the nature or quality of vice or immorality : depraved
2: defective, faulty ; also : invalid
3: impure, noxious
4 a: dangerously aggressive : savage b: marked by violence or ferocity : fierce
5: malicious, spiteful
6: worsened by internal causes that reciprocally augment each other "

Posted by: Dellis2 | June 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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