A House Dem Rebellion on Health Care?
Word came late yesterday that Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had at last struck a deal with the conservative Blue Dog Democrats on his committee who had been gumming up the works of health care legislation. More specifically, Waxman struck a deal with four of the seven obstructionist Blue Dogs, giving him enough votes, presumably, to finally pass the bill in his committee.
Although the House health care bill had passed easily through two other committees, the Blue Dogs were balking over the cost of the bill, and the means to pay for it. Blue Dog spokesperson Mike Ross, D-Ark., even took objection to a surtax on the nation's wealthiest citizens for the purpose of funding health care for his less fortunate constituents.
Waxman's deal cleared the way for the committee to begin tweaking the provisions of the bill before taking its vote, a process known as mark-up. A mark-up session was called for 4:00 yesterday.
I dutifully arrived at the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing room at the appointed hour, and sat. And sat. And sat. No Waxman, no members of Congress. At 5:30, reporters were informed that the mark-up would "resume" this morning. And indeed it has; I write from the hearing room.
So what caused Waxman to call off yesterday's session? A potential rebellion in the ranks.