Okay. Let’s review how things unfolded today on health insurance reform in the Senate.
First, Obama is further enabling the Senate “gang of six,” (the Baucus and Grassley crew) by meeting with them at the White House tomorrow. Apparently, Obama “will encourage the three Republicans and three Democrats to come to terms on a consensus approach, aides said.”
We already know one of the three Republicans in the “gang”, Republican Mike Enzi, won’t agree to any deal unless Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi all agree to his demands. Today, we learned that another one of the Republican “gang” was trashing talking Democrats on MSNBC:
“[We're] doing what should have been done at the outset of this year, rather than trying to railroad a procses in an unrealistic timeframe,” Snowe told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Snowe added that the emphasis on deadlines has placed an unnecessary burden on the process.
“Let’s get [off] timetables and timeframes, because they cretainly (sic) don’t work and they haven’t worked,” Snowe said, adding that deadlines have “contributed to the problems and to the escalation” of the political battle surrounding healthcare.
Of course, Snowe doesn’t want timetables. Senator Jay Rockefeller explained why:
Changes to the bill have been frustrating, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) told reporters at a press conference, particularly given that the Republicans — Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Olympia Snowe of Maine — are, in his opinion, just stalling for time.
“You just watch as the bill diminishes in its scope, in its coverage, in its ferocity to try to attack the problem. I don’t know where it will come out,” Rockefeller said. “My own personal view is that those three Republicans won’t be there to vote it out of committee when it comes right down to it, so that this all will have been a three-or-four-month delay game, which is exactly what the Republicans want.”
Rockefeller is right. As is Senator Lamar Alexander who spoke the truth when he said:
“I think it’s possible. I mean, [Obama] could pass a bill today,” Lamar told Fox News’ Trace Gallagher. The host asked Alexander if Congress could ratify the health bill by the end of the year.
There are 60 Democratic Senators. If it weren’t for the bizarre quest for bipartisanship (from both the White House and some Senators), this could be done already. It should have been done already.