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Steny Hoyer: 'The Senate bill clearly is better than nothing'

Over the weekend, Nancy Pelosi said, "Let's remove all doubt, we will have health care -- one way or another." Now her number two in the House, Steny Hoyer, is saying that "the Senate bill clearly is better than nothing." There's been an understandable reticence to consider the possibility that the Senate Democrats lose their 60th vote, but if that happens, my sense is that House Democrats will adjust and recognize that they -- and the country -- are better off passing the health-care reform bill that they've already voted for than letting it die.

By Ezra Klein  |  January 19, 2010; 4:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

That the "money stuff" to put it crudely can be adjusted later in budget reconciliation is obvious, but what about abortion? Thats language, which I doubt can get changed without having to go back to the Senate, which clearly is a non-starter once Brown wins tonight because Lieberman will kill the bill. I fully expect Lieberman to oppose health care reform after tonight's election is over.

So then its the hunt for 218 votes, and I really think this will die at the hands of the Bart Stupaks in the House.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | January 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The senate language is retrograde enough for the bishops that advise the woman hating caucus in the house so it should be OK to just pass the senate bill and go after funding changes through reconciliation.

Posted by: srw3 | January 19, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"my sense is that House Democrats will adjust and recognize that they -- and the country -- are better off passing the health-care reform bill that they've already voted for than letting it die."

Why? It is clearly unpopular with liberal Dems, independents and R's (a fairly broad contingency). If I am representing my constituency or even if I am just worried about my seat, I would think the smart move would be to kill it. I know CW says that once passed, D's can begin to talk about the program, spring will come, flowers will bloom... There are 2 problems with that: 1) The Ds have been trying to do that since June...and discussing it has only sunk the popularity more and 2)Between now and the next election, not enough of the bill will be implemented for any real discussion on whether it works or not.

I think that liberals need to fully understand what is happening in MA today and internalize it. In perhaps the most liberal state in the union, in an election for the seat held forever by Ted Kennedy, grandfather of the D party and patron saint of nationalize healthcare, a republican is in a dead heat. That should be the biggest stop sign politics has seen in years. To paraphrase a radio ad that runs frequently in DC, killing the current bill "is the biggest no brainer in the history of earth."

Posted by: amaranthpa | January 19, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Passage of the Senate bill is not a slam dunk in the House. As I stated in a previous comment, Reps. may see themselves vulnerable and balk at giving Pelosi the votes she needs.

Posted by: bobsteph1234 | January 19, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The most interesting thing I see in all of this is:

If the Senate bill is passed as the final bill and the House demands that they then use reconciliation to tweak some of the provisions, would the Dems try to include the public option in the reconciliation bill to excite the base?

It's so interesting to me, because if this is the scenario, Scott Brown would actually be the person that solidified a public option.

Posted by: rylock | January 19, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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