Harry Reid’s latest maneuver on ObamaCare has less to do with the legislation — or with the poor staffers he wants to spare from another weekend of work — than with his political survival. ABC News reports that Reid demanded that Republicans drop debate on several ObamaCare amendments so that he can send the Senate home over the weekend, supposedly to give staffers a break. But as Byron Wolf informs readers, Harry has a fundraiser he desperately needs in a re-election effort that already appears Quixotic:
But Reid, who wants to get a healthcare bill finished by Christmas, urged Republicans on the Senate floor to forego a debate on several conference reports this weekend in order to give Senators and staffers the weekend off.
“I understand the Republican leader doesn’t want us to do health care. I appreciate that. He and I have different positions on that,” said Reid. “I see no reason to punish everybody this weekend and I hope the minority will give strong consideration to the proposal that i’ve made.”
But in addition to shepherding the health care bill through the Senate, Reid is also locked in a tough reelection campaign.
And in that regard his desire for a weekend off is not so benevolent to other Senators and staffers.
It turns out Reid has a 1,000 plus per plate fundraiser scheduled for Saturday in New Orleans, according to one local paper, which also reports that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-LA, a key swing moderate in the health care debate, will also be in attendance.
Say, wasn’t this the same Harry Reid that scheduled a cloture vote to open debate on the bill for a Saturday? At the time, he didn’t want to let his caucus go home and talk with constituents, lest they be pressured into actually representing their viewpoints on ObamaCare. Reid didn’t have much thought for the staffers and their weekend free time at that stage, did he?
Why not just give everyone the weekend off and pick up debate on Monday? Reid’s running out of legislative dates on the 2009 calendar. He wants to push this bill through Congress before the new year arrives. If they’re still debating ObamaCare in January, it won’t be going anywhere — not in an election year, and not with job approval ratings for Barack Obama and Democrats plunging downward at an increasing pace.
Republicans won’t give up their debate time. Reid will either have to skip his Big Easy fundraiser or let the schedule slip. But if he does the former, maybe Nevadans can start asking why Reid needs to go to Louisiana to raise money instead of coming home himself.