Okay, Harry Reid, what are you up to?
The Obamacare package ginned up by the Senate Finance Committee, predictably, passed out, the vote 14-9. It was almost along party lines, and would have been 13-10 if Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) hadn't thrown her support, becoming the first R to endorse it. "When history calls, history calls", she said of her switch. Just goes to show Stephen King isn't the only scary person from that state. (Hey, even Massachusetts didn't want them. Missouri Compromise, my ass.) Almost immediately, labor unions (which endorsed Obama) and large business organizations (which grudgingly endorsed McCain) were screaming for changes in the bill.
Well, be careful what you wish for....
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the bill up for debate the week of October 26. And here's where it gets interesting. There is already a bill awaiting debate in the Senate from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Reid can add any parts of it he wishes -- or any parts at all he wishes, from existing bills or not. In other words, what made it out of the SFC may mutate dramatcally by the time a vote come up. Reid needs to choose carefully. He needs 60 votes in order to prevent a Republican filibuster. So, given how fragmented support for the different bills is, this could be a nigh-impossible task.
Reid is also at odds with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They have been creating their own version of the health bill, but are sitting on it. The House is too vulnerable to Reps aware they'll be voted out next year. So, they'll come up with their proposal, but aren't even moving it close to a vote. The Senate has the best chance of passing it, and building momentum to get it through the House. So ultimate control is in Reid's hands. Reid and Pelosi are arguing over the military's request for an additional 40K troops in Afghanistan. Reid supports the idea, Pelosi opposes it. With Reid plucking the strings, what is he going to make Pelosi dance to? He could use it as a bargaining chip, and if she doesn't play ball with him, he can either cut certain things (the government option) or add so much shit it will not pass and leave Pelosi with egg on her face and a lot of explaining to do to her constituents.
America's Health Insurance Plans was doing some backpedaling last night after all the anger heaped on it by supporters of Obamacare, claiming their projections were based on four of the plans before the Senate, the one just out of the SFC wasn't included, and the final bill to vote on may be radically different. Business groups, meanwhile, have let it be known through the politicians they've
So, what exactly is Reid angling for with all this opposition and himself holding a political bomb? He pushes the wrong button, and it blows up in his face before he can dump it on someone else?
What's your game, Mr. Reid? What exactly are you going to use this to gain?