Here's the Latest on Where the Fight for Health Care Stands

Here is context on where the health care campaign stands:

  • Several reports claim that Speaker Pelsoi has nixed the deal Henry Waxman made with Blue Dogs to  pass a weakened health care bill through the Energy and Commerce committee back in July. While this would raise hopes for a stronger public option passing through the House, Pelosi's office denies that any deal has been made.
  • House Democrats will meet Thursday to, among other things, discuss the public option. No word on how the Progressive caucus whip count went, but once this meeting is over I imagine we will know more.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is continuing its markup--that is, debate and amendment process--over the Baucus health care bill. One of the reasons this committee is so problematic is because of how conservative it is. For one thing, the committee has 23 members, 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans, even though a 14-9 balance would have more closely reflected the 59-40 makeup of the Senate at the start of the 111th Congress. It is also loaded with some of the more conservative members of the caucus, including Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, Bill Nelson, and Tom Carper.
  • Kent Conrad wants to delay the Senate Finance bill by another two or three weeks so that he can read a CBO score. Fortunately, even Max Baucus thinks waiting that long is a bad idea. Double fortunately, there isn't really any deadline for reconciliation. While all committees with oversight have to report bills by October 15th in order for them to be eligible for reconciliation, there is no such deadline for the Senate Budget committee, which will merge the Finance and HELP committee bill. The Budget commitee can report a health care bill whenever it wants, and it will still be eligible for reconciliation.
  • The key amendments that the Finance Committee will address are the Snowe trigger amendment, which Mike discussed earlier today, and three good strengthening amendments:



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