I know, I know — “but what about what Paul Ryan said?” I don’t know whose information is most current right now. All I can do is show you what I’m seeing.
Believe it or not, this rather significant tidbit is buried about halfway down in Politico’s story:
Part of the negotiations center on whether Reid can provide an ironclad guarantee that the Senate will not leave the House in the lurch, aides said. If the House agrees to pass the Senate bill with a companion measure — or a “cleanup” bill — to make fixes, they want to know that the Senate will indeed pass it, too.
There was some talk among Senate leadership on Thursday of putting together a letter signed by 51 Democratic senators pledging to pass a cleanup bill if the House would pass the Senate bill. But that effort fizzled when support for it didn’t materialize, insiders said.
“The Senate moderates’ viewpoint is, ‘We passed our bill. We’re not going to spend three weeks on some other bill,’” said a Democratic lobbyist who represents clients pushing for reform.
“There’s a real possibility it doesn’t get through,” said another Democratic lobbyist.
TPM’s hearing something similar about Senate Dems having “moved on to other, newer priorities,” with even Durbin sounding noncommittal about whether the House should press ahead. The million-dollar question: If they’ve got 51 true-blue Dems (or 50, with Biden as the tiebreaker) willing to go to the mat for the dream of Ted Kennedy’s life or whatever, why can’t the lucky 51 simply pledge themselves to reconciliation now? Are they … short of 51?
A Senate staffer told TPM yesterday that the feeling among the Democratic caucus at Brown’s victory was actually relief that in Brown’s victory they finally had an excuse to step back from the ledge. I figured at the time that it was garbage aimed at stirring up nutroots readers to inundate congressional Dems with “pass this or else” threats, but after Politico’s story, now I’m thinking maybe it’s true. Maybe Senate Dems are already in the lifeboats and waving bye-bye to Pelosi and Obama on the deck of the Titanic. Exit question: How to square this with Ryan’s account? Did Reid wrangle 51 votes sometime during the interim?
“There’s a lot of anger at the Senate,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a liberal who wants to push ahead with healthcare reform, but loathes some of the Senate bill’s provisions, especially a tax on expensive health benefits packages. “They’ve wasted six months and done nothing, and they subject themselves to undemocratic rules that frustrate the will of the majority of the American people and of them. And we can do all kinds of things but in the end, it doesn’t matter what we do if they don’t go along with it. We pass a lot of good things, and it goes over there to die.”