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Health Care What Will Happen in the Senate

Major Hurdles Said To Remain On Path Of Healthcare Reform Drive. Media reports last night and this morning cast Saturday night’s House vote on healthcare reform as a key step toward enactment of healthcare reform legislation. Analysts, however, say significant challenges remain as the reform push moves to the Senate. The AP(11/9, Alonso-Zaldivar), for example, says that “the glow from a health care triumph faded quickly for President Barack Obama on Sunday as Democrats realized the bill they fought so hard to pass in the House has nowhere to go in the Senate.” The Senate “won’t run with” the House bill, because “the government health insurance plan included in the House bill is unacceptable to a few Democratic moderates who hold the balance of power in the Senate.” AFP (11/9, Knox) notes that GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said yesterday, “The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. Just look at how it passed.”

The New York Times (11/9, A1, Stolberg) in a front page story describes the White House as increasingly “concerned that the Congressional timetable for passing a health care overhaul could slip into next year,” and as result “stepping up pressure on the Senate for quick action.” The Times adds that “the slim margin in the House…suggests even greater challenges in the Senate, where the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, is struggling to hold on to all 58 Democrats and two independents in his caucus.”

Under the headline “In Senate, Health Bill Has Major Hurdles,” USA Today (11/9, Fritze) reports, “With less than seven weeks left on its calendar, the Senate timeline to start debate is uncertain. Even if the chamber passes a bill, lawmakers will have to work out differences with the House proposal, including how to pay for billions of dollars in new subsidies to help families buy coverage.” While “Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the House vote provided ‘good momentum’…there was no indication that moderate senators needed to pass the bill had warmed to controversial measures such as a proposed government-run insurance plan.” The Washington Times (11/9, Lengell) runs a similar story under the headline “Roadblock To Greet Health Bill In Senate.” Roll Call (11/9, Dennis, Newmyer), meanwhile, reports, “House Democrats sensed the call of history late Saturday,” and while “the legislative battle is far from over…ebullient…Democrats savored a victory decades in the making.”

The Washington Post (11/9, A3, Shear) reports that Saturday night’s “victory came on the heels of sobering evidence that even a president as popular as he remains is subject to the shifting public mood, an economy struggling to recover and events that are beyond his direct control.” While Obama “has hardly shied away from confronting those challenges…the almost naively hopeful ‘Yes, we can!’ spirit of his campaign is harder to see with the more realistic Barack Obama in the White House.” The Post adds that in the wake of last Tuesday’s elections, “the problem,” according to “Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W. Va.), an Obama ally, is people’s sense that the president’s agenda is not connecting with people’s ‘anxiety’ about the economy.”

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November 9, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , ,

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