Kent Conrad to House Dems: Yep, reconciliation in the Senate will be pretty darned dodgy
posted at 6:31 pm on March 17, 2010 by Allahpundit
The exact opposite of what Obama and Pelosi wanted to hear while they’re trying to reassure fencesitters that Reid’s going to get this done. Between this and the rumored CBO score, I half-believe they’re actually trying to kill this thing at this point. What’s next? A memo from Obama’s pollster confirming that voting yes means political suicide?
The ways of Democrats are mysterious things, my friends.
Today, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)–chair of the Senate Budget Committee–didn’t provide them much peace of mind.
Conrad addressed a meeting of Senate Democrats to explain the reconciliation process to them. On his way out, I and several other reporters caught up with him. I asked whether the package being assembled by House and Senate Democrats will survive the Byrd rule, which requires a reconciliation bill to amend tax or entitlement law, without increasing the deficit.
“We haven’t finished the process of going through things that are Byrd-able,” Conrad said.
“Is it a close call on some of them?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” Conrad said.
Reid’s latest gambit to comfort panicky House Dems is to circulate a letter signed by Senate Democrats assuring them that he has the votes to pass the fix. Except … that’s not what the letter says.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) indicated that the letter is a general expression of support for health care reform.
“We talked about showing strong support for the House as they move forward,” Klobuchar said of expected House votes this week. “But there wasn’t a discussion about doing a letter that specifically says we will vote for reconciliation when we haven’t seen the bill. But a letter showing that we were generally supportive of moving forward on health care, we thought that that would be helpful.”
We’re down to the wire on the biggest domestic-policy vote in the House in decades, with a very real possibility that it’ll be decided by a single ballot, and Reid still can’t find 51 senators willing to help Pelosi by promising they’ll pass whatever’s in the reconciliation bill?
Hoyer has now pushed the target date for a floor vote to Sunday. Fearless prediction: We’ll have a pretty good sense by tomorrow, after the CBO numbers drop, whether this is going to pass or fail.