House liberals aren’t happy with direction of Senate bill

In the health insurance debate, all eyes are on the Senate right now. But, let’s not forget, as that bill continues to become more conservative, there’s still another step in the process — the conference report. And, the House gets to vote one more time. Liberals in the House are watching the Senate proceedings closely. Today, Greg Sargent talked to Reps. Jerry Nadler and Jan Schakowsky, who expressed serious reservations about the evolving Senate bill:

“The House is not going to be dictated to,” Nadler told me.

Both Dems expressed skepticism about the current public option compromise emerging in the Senate, which would create a national plan along the lines of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan and would be administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

“It’s important to understand that [the proposal] would be a completely private plan,” Schakowsky said. “Right now, I don’t see it as a good deal.”

Nadler was more blunt: “I don’t know that I would support it.”

There’s little doubt that House Dems will do the lion’s share of compromising in negotiations with the Senate. But House Dems clearly are not prepared to roll over completely. That creates a big challenge for the House Dem leadership, which will have to assemble 218 votes for a bill that could also win 60 in the Senate. All in all, it’s yet another reminder that the road to reform still stretches far into the distance.

The House bill passed with 220 votes — and just one was a Republican. There’s not a lot of wiggle room for the White House. Lose three votes and this thing is over. Greg’s report has more salience since Nadler is in the mix. He’s tough. And, I keep hearing reports that the relations between the White House and Hill Democrats have gotten frosty. (Apparently, some progressives have had it with being pushed around by their former colleague, Rahm Emanuel.)

Also, there’s a vigil for health insurance reform today at the Capitol with Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Raul Grijalva. The progressives are making their voices heard. One wonders if anyone is listening.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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