I’m reading between the lines, but you don’t have to read too closely. Greg Sargent reported a few hours ago that Reid is now openly talking about using reconciliation not only to pass O-Care but to pass a public option too. I still think it’s a bluff, but that’s a provocative bit of muscle-flexing ahead of a meeting with the GOP that’s supposedly aimed at compromise and conciliation.
Now here comes Cantor with a statement of his own responding to Reid. You tell me: Is this or is this not an implied threat?
“If the President is sincere about moving forward in a bipartisan fashion, he must take the reconciliation process – which will be used jam through legislation that a majority of Americans do not want – off the table. By using the reconciliation process, the Administration and Democrat leaders are sending a clear signal that they still refuse to listen to the American people and have no interest in bipartisanship. To be certain, by using the reconciliation process, the Administration makes clear that their promise of bipartisanship is dead.
“If the President’s intention for the health care summit is to finally show that he is ready to listen and work in a bipartisan way to produce incremental reforms that the American people support, he is off to a rocky start. The health care bills that the Obama Administration has apparently combined to form a new plan – unfortunately again behind closed doors – have not only been rejected by the American people and Republicans, but by Democrats on Capitol Hill who have spent that past year arguing amongst themselves over them. I urge President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Reid to stop trying to subvert the will of the American people and finally start listening to them.”
He and Boehner demanded once before as the price of negotiation that Democrats take reconciliation off the table, and their bluff was called. If Obama calls this bluff too, what choice do they have but to walk?
Eh, I don’t think they have the stones to do it. They’ll show, but the summit will very quickly devolve into a grievance session in which the GOP pounds the table about reconciliation and The One pounds the table about obstructionism. That’s all it was ever going to be anyway; Reid and Cantor are just setting up the props for Thursday’s show.