Posts Tagged ‘Reid’
President Obama’s “health care summit” last week broke very little new policy ground, but one thing is clear: Democrats are determined to pass their health care bill no matter what the American people want.
Some people have asked me why the Democrats would so willfully reject the will of the American people and push try to push this through. Obama and Democrat leadership know that with every passing day, reform becomes harder to pass because the closer we get to election day, the less likely moderate Democrats are to support it. Obama, Pelosi and Reid also know that if they don’t get it done this year, it will never happen, because they are going to lose seats in both the House and the Senate in November.
Another thing to consider is the dynamic of the 2012 election. Rahm Emanuel is the smartest Democrat operative in the nation. He knows politics, and he knows history and he recognizes that if Republicans capture the House in 2010, Obama’s reelection chances in 2012 at least double. Think about Clinton’s ability to “triangulate” with the Republican majority, thereby making him look more reasonable.
So, Rahm and Obama are willing to throw as many House members into the wood chipper as it will take to pass a bill, majority be damned, because a majority is actually bad for Obama after next year. The thing to watch is whether Democrat House members will be more influenced by White House pressure, or by pressure of constituents and voters back home.
In watching the summit, I was struck by a number of things. First, I was very impressed with the Republicans strength on the policy of health care reform. President Obama repeatedly tried to cut off any Republican who spoke about portions of the current plan with which they disagree. On several occasions, the President cut off the speaker and announced that he was interested in what they liked about his plan, not what they didn’t. In other words continuing his theme that bi-partisan reform consists of Republicans agreeing to Democrats ideas.
The Democrats also attempted to dominate the amount of speaking time. The Democrats/President spoke for 233 minutes, with Republicans getting 110 minutes of speaking time. However, the Republicans were very efficient with their time and Sens. Lamar Alexander R-TN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and House members Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) stood out in particular as hitting the main points with devastating precision. spoke about the need to eliminate (or at least reduce) waste, fraud, and abuse in health care.
At first, the Democrats were somewhat successful in appearing to agree with Republican principles and claiming their bill did many of the things Republicans were proposing. For instance, many Republicans suggested allowing the purchasing of insurance across state lines. Several Democrats insisted that their bill did just that. They were attempting to claim that their “exchanges” would do that; they do not. However, as the summit progressed, Republicans made it clear they were better prepared and had mastered the facts better than the Democrats.
At one point Senator McCain (R-AZ) made a very effective speech, noting how corrupt the process of crafting the legislation had been, including the many sweetheart deals included in the bills to buy votes. This clearly stung Obama, and the best he could come up with was a remark that the election is over – as if McCain’s points were mere political talking points used in campaigns. This was a big win for Republicans.
Finally, President Obama ended the summit by declaring that he has come a long way towards the Republicans by offering his latest proposal (which is largely the Senate-passed bill) and that now it is up to Republicans to decide which Democrat proposals they could accept. He intimated that they had the next several weeks (he mentioned 6 weeks once) to help Democrats pass their bill or he will pull it and Americans will know that Republicans put their political interests before the best interests of Americans. And then, the President noted, “that’s why we have elections.”
The media has played this as having been a “tie, going to Republicans.” If that is the MSM take, than clearly Republicans gained the most out of the summit. As has already been discussed by many commentators, Republicans brought their “A” game, while Democrats came across as mostly parroting talking points, not actually discussing solutions. Even Rush Limbaugh has said that Republicans proved him wrong by how well they did.
Here is a sampling of some of the immediate reaction in the press.
CNN’S DAVID GERGEN: “Intellectually, The Republicans Had The Best Day They’ve Had In Years. The Best Day They Have Had In Years.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
· CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The Folks In The White House Just Must Be Kicking Themselves Right Now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
NPR’S MARA LIASSON: “I Think That The Republicans Made Their Arguments Very Well.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)
CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “It Looks Like The Republicans Certainly Showed Up Ready To Play.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “And The Republicans Had Less Speaking Time, But They Took Full Advantage Of Every Minute They Had.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I Think We Need To Start Out By Acknowledging Republicans Brought Their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform. I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)
CNN’s GLORIA BORGER: “The Republicans Have Been Very Effective Today. They Really Did Come To Play. They Were Very Smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· BORGER: “They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
· BORGER: “They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)
POLITICO: “By The Afternoon, However, Both Sides Took A More Substantive Approach That Played To The Republicans’ Benefit, given Democratic attempts to portray them as unreasonable and partisan.” (“Six Hours Later, Stalemate Remains,” Politico, 2/25/10)
FOX NEWS’ CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “The Republicans Really Helped Themselves. The argument against them, it’s the party of no, they have no ideas, they are against anything, they’re nihilists. In fact, they spent seven hours, I think, presenting a very strong case. They’re knowledgeable. They have ideas. They are interested in reform, but they have differences. Lamar Alexander was dazzling, Paul Ryan was rapier sharp in rebutting all of the smoke and mirrors that the democrats had presented.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)
JAMES CARVILLE: “First, In General, You’d Have To Say, By The Most Part Most Of These People Were Pretty Knowledgeable, They Had Done Their Homework … I Thought That Senator Alexander And Senator Coburn Did Great…” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)
FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER: “Republicans Had A Strong Day Making Their Points.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)
WASHINGTON POST’S MICHAEL GERSON: “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed”(Michael Gerson, Op-Ed, “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed,” The Washington Post, 2/25/10)
President Obama is telling the Justice Department to find a different location than New York City for the terror trial. Mayor Bloomberg had expressed concern about the trial taking place in Manhattan and even liberal Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer wanted it somewhere else.
It begs the question: if you can’t do it in New York, where, pray tell, do you think you can do it? It certainly won’t be well received anywhere else. Maybe since Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid have been so gung ho about civilian trials of terrorists, they should do the trial in either San Francisco or Las Vegas.
Actually, Vegas seems like the perfect venue. It’s all for show anyway.
This whole episode is going to continue to damage Obama’s credibility on the war on terror, or whatever his administration calls it these days. The bottom line is that terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts in the first place.
This is powerful, and should make Democrats very nervous.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) cobbled together a tenuous 60-vote block of all Democrats to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed with his healthcare bill late Saturday evening. While he tried to appear triumphant with this accomplishment, it was a short victory lap as many Democrat Senators immediately began to enumerate the various concerns they have with the bill and making it clear that their vote to end debate is very much up in the air.
Patrick O’Connor with Politico is one of the most conscientious reporters on the Hill and his report (along with Carrie Budoff Brown) on the challenges that remain for Reid is one of the best summaries out there.
The bottom line, as articulate by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is this, “the battle has just begun.”
There is a reason that this tax on cosmetic surgery (included in Reid’s Senate healthcare bill) was not in the House healthcare bill.
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf dropped a nuclear bomb on Congress when he was asked about legislation reforming health care and whether it would actually save money: “On the contrary,” Elmendorf said, “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”
This is huge news because the main argument Democrats, including Obama, have been using for their health care reform is that they need cut cost. Now they have an independent agent telling them that it’s going to cost a lot of money – just the opposite.
Of course Sen. Harry Reid, ever the class act, had this to say: “What he should do is maybe run for Congress,” Reid said.
Keep in mind, Elmendorf was appointed to be the CBO Chief by Reid and Nancy Pelosi. But now that he doesn’t toe their line, Reid dismisses him.
Reid can try to distract all he wants, but the issue creates a huge problem for Democrats as they try to rush through a bill that will hurt Americans. Make no mistake about it, when they talk about reduced costs, they are talking about reduced care.
All I can say is Specter will fit right in with the Senate Democrats who don’t keep their word.
Specter Will Be Junior Democrat on Committees
May 5, 2009, 8:55 p.m.
By John Stanton
Roll Call Staff
Despite promises from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) would retain his seniority after switching parties, Specter will be put at the end of the seniority line on all his committees but one under a resolution approved on the floor late Tuesday.
Under the modified organizing resolution, Specter will not keep his committee seniority on any of the five committees that he serves on and will be the junior Democrat on all but one — the chamber’s Special Committee on Aging. On that committee, he will be next to last in seniority.
As a result, Specter — who as a Republican was ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, as well as ranking member of the panel’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education — will now rank behind all the other Democrats, at least until the end of this Congress.
According to a senior Democratic aide, it remains unclear whether Specter — who will still retain his seniority in the Senate outside of the committees — will see a boost in his committee seniority should he be re-elected for the next session. The status of his seniority for the next Congress will be determined once the 112th Congress convenes in 2011, the aide said.
Democrats said that while unrelated, Specter’s comments to the New York Times Magazine this weekend indicating he would support former Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) disputed re-election bid against Al Franken have angered many Democrats.
“Sen. Specter better watch comments like these. They won’t help him in the caucus,” a Democratic leadership aide said, adding that the comments have “caused a lot of heartburn in the caucus.”
David Drucker and Emily Pierce contributed to this report.
Senate and House negotiators have announced a “deal” on the stimulus package. It will cost about $789 BILLION. Reportedly, Senate Democrats are stomping their feet in anger because education funding has been reduced, and, well, because they need to make it look like this really was a compromise.
Democrats know that Republicans would be critical, so if they got some of their liberal members to start yelling, it would look like it was “the middle of the road.”
This is what we call “creating the right optics” and I can pretty much guarantee that Rahm Emanual was the mastermind behind all this.
As reported in the New York Times, liberal lion, Tom Harkin, played the supporting role perfectly (emphasis mine):
Even before the last touches were put to the bill, the emerging deal infuriated some Democrats who said that President Obama and Congressional leaders had been too quick to give up on Democratic priorities. Some critics also suggested that the final figure was too small to be effective because of the grave condition of the American economy.
“I am not happy with it,” said Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa. “You are not looking at a happy camper. I mean, they took a lot of stuff out of education. They took it out of health, school construction and they put it more into tax issues.”
Usually, if Harkin is not happy, I am, which is exactly what Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Emanual want – they want us happy to have a “trimmed-down” stimulus bill. Well, it isn’t going to work for me. I’m standing right there by Harkin and I’m infuriated!