Democratic leaders and the White House insisted ahead of the vote they aren’t preparing to desert health care. They admit they’ll have to come up with a new strategy to win passage, but said they didn’t want to allow one Senate race to take them off-course on the president’s top legislative item for the year.
But several House members said Tuesday night that they had no interest in pursuing the most likely scenario for moving ahead with a bill — approving the already-passed Senate version of health reform in the House – and some said President Barack Obama should step back and start over.
In fact, early signs of split emerged as the polls closed in Massachusetts – between leaders like Majority Leader Steny Hoyer who said “the Senate bill is better than nothing,” and individual members who didn’t want to swallow the Senate’s version of health reform whole…
“If it comes down to that Senate bill or nothing, I think we are going to end with nothing because I don’t hear a lot of support on our side for that bill,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)
Remember, Lieberman and Bayh all but warned Obama earlier today to back off. About an hour ago, just as news of Brown’s victory broke, Jim Webb chimed in: “[I]t would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.” That wouldn’t solve the ping pong problem, but the more Senate centrists there are speaking out against the bill, the softer the House Blue Dog coalition will get. Every last member of the 60-vote coalition needs to be asked if they’d be willing to vote for Reid’s bill again in light of what happened in Massachusetts. I’d be awfully curious to see how close you get to 60 again. Or 50, for that matter.
Supposedly Jon Karl of ABC is being told by Dems that they don’t know what they’re going to do now. Exit question: What do Blue Dogs stand to gain by still voting yes? A promise from Obama that he’ll campaign for them? How did that work out in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts?
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