A grim assessment about the future of health care reform:
Another senior House Democrat familiar with negotiations on the bill said no progress has been made this week on any of the key sticking points in the House and Senate bills, despite steady meetings with union leaders and the White House.
“There’s no agreement. No deal on anything. Nothing,” the lawmaker said.
The reality, said this lawmaker, is that House-Senate negotiators will need to continue working out their differences into February. Congressional leaders have been aiming to deliver a final bill to President Barack Obama before his State of the Union address, which normally takes place in late January.
It’s also creating even more tension between the House and Senate:
With all of these issues at a standstill, tensions are growing between the two chambers. Several House lawmakers have voiced frustration with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) over concessions and special deals they cut in the Senate version.
“The Senate is just a pain in the ass to everybody in the world as far as I can tell. I’m so angry that I just wish from now on that we’d just find out what it is that Lieberman and Nelson will let us have,” the senior lawmaker said. “But we’re not giving up on anything in the House.”
“We keep hearing them squeal like pigs in the Senate that they had a tough time getting to 60,” Weiner said. “Well, it wasn’t particularly a picnic for us to get to 218. Generally speaking, the Senate kabuki dance has lost its magic on those of us in the House.”
President Obama needs to remember that there are two chambers of Congress. I’m sure he favors his old chamber, the Senate, but his support is really needed to bring everyone together and get a good compromise out there that doesn’t hurt reform anymore than it already is.