Senate leaders recently announced that they would not pass the bill before summer vacation… I mean, before the MONTH-LONG August recess. (Side note: They work hard, I’m sure. Like teachers do. A month or two off in the summer, ok.)
Obama sort of said, well, ok, but let’s get this thing done by the end of the year. As always, the savvy politician knows when to pick his battles. Well done.
"I think that it's better to have a product that is one that's based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than trying to jam something through," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.
"I want the bill to get out of the committees. I have no problem if people are really working through these difficult issues in making sure we get it right,” he said at a town hall meeting in Ohio.
Do I detect a bit of “what are you guys doing in there?”-ness to the Senator’s words?
“We will take the bill to the floor when it is ready, and when it is ready we will have the votes to pass it,” said Nancy Pelosi. Now that is the kind of confidence you want from a Congressional leader- none of this “what are you guys doing in there” tone that makes you think your leaders don’t have any idea what is going on with the people in their party.
Why is this taking so long, afterall? Well, do you have $1 trillion to spend on a new healthcare bill? Neither does the federal government.
There are those in the House who have a problem with the costs and think there should be higher taxes on the rich. Then there are the Republicans, who would love to be a part of anything that brings down Obama- so they are screaming Tax Hikes! $1 Trillion! And Big Government.
Which are all kind of true. But think if this were reversed- Republicans are pro-death by lack of health care! Or Republican Policies killed 2,000 last week. Things like that wouldn’t fly anywhere.
"If you already have health insurance, the reform we're proposing will give you more security. It will keep the government out of your healthcare decisions, giving you the option to keep your coverage if you're happy with it,” said President Obama.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has had a good week- he dropped out of the Senate Finance Committee talks and stood up against the bill. He also told Fox News what Obama needs to do:
"He's got to roll up his sleeves. Without his personal involvement I don't think we can get a healthcare bill done of any magnitude,” Hatch told Fox News. And Fox News will tell Obama. Over and over and over and over…
And he may need some of that health care himself if Senators keep dropping out of committees and telling him to roll up his sleeves.