Chuck Grassley's Legislative Tease
Chuck Grassley would be a really terrible guy to date:
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would have been able to craft a health bill with broad bipartisan support had he been given more time, a key Senate colleague claimed Thursday.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, argued that Baucus, the committee's chairman, might have unveiled a bill with a more positive reception had he not come under political pressure.
"The sad commentary is that we were working to practically completion of a bill," Grassley told CNBC during an interview this morning. "Another couple weeks would have given us an opportunity to have a bipartisan bill that I think would have gotten broad-based support."
I was totally getting ready to propose, baby, if you'd only waited a couple more weeks ...
I actually find Grassley's behavior throughout all this a bit shocking. Grassley's friendship with Baucus is long and deep. And he has made Baucus look like a weak, ineffectual fool. He has absolutely hung him out to dry.
Baucus assumed enormous personal risk to try and secure Grassley's support. He formed the "Gang of Six," infuriating the other members of his committee. He blew through the White House's August deadline, angering Senate Democrats and harming the White House. He compromised on a raft of liberal priorities, infuriating the Democratic base. And he got ... nothing.
Less than nothing, in fact. Grassley went on TV to trash the Democratic bills and proclaim that he was closed to an actual compromise. He let Baucus end the process with a compromised bill and not a single vote of confidence from his Republican colleagues. He made Baucus look like a knave. If there was any evidence that Grassley hated Baucus and wished him ill, it would count as one of the truly masterful political defenestrations in recent decades.
Photo credit: By Harry Hamburg – Associated Press
September 17, 2009; 1:37 PM ET
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