A Troika of Maybes on Sunday. Three congressional Democrats who voted no on the original House health care bill got some rare Sunday air time to fence sit on how they will vote when the House takes up the Senate bill, which so far as anyone can figure is the next step in this year-long saga.
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), who supported the strict “Stupak Amendment” to prevent federal funding of abortion says he thinks the issue will be “decisive” to whether reform passes or doesn’t.
Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) is awaiting the dotted “i’s” and crossed “t’s,” quaintly declaring that he is “one of the guys who believes I should read the bill first before making up my mind.”
And the last of the troika, retiring Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), said it’s not the bill he would write, but it’s better than the “status quo.” But if, he comes to the conclusion he can’t support the Senate bill, would he vote no even if it meant health care would go down? In Baird’s word, “yes.”
All of which is to say, the three undecideds wrapped up their Sunday stints as they began, undecided. Although Altmire sounded more “no” than his two colleagues.
It’s enough to give House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heartburn, but not Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen (the guy who’s in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House this fall). Van Hollen says he thinks the House will pass the Senate health care bill, ”but do we have a lock? No.”
Off the topic du jour, but certainly of interest: Both Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) got as far away as possible from that toxic RNC fundraising presentation which contained, among other things, racially-tinged depictions of President Obama as the Joker in Batman. Senator Hatch said he was “ashamed.” Senator McConnell said he couldn’t imagine why anyone would think that was helpful. Us neither.
And finally, the bipartisan note of the day as Iraqis concluded their parliamentary election. After his appearance on ABC, McConnell told reporters Iraq is on its way to becoming a “normal” democratic country which – wait for it – “could well be one of the big accomplishments of this current administration.
This week for Health Care Reform: Do or Die. Make or Break. Now or Never.
The End Game. Unless, it’s the week after this.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“I belive we will have a pass, but do we have a lock? No. The president sent Congress a letter based on the ideas he had. Until people have a final product they are able to look at and the Congressional Budget Office, our referee, says whether or not this will do what the earlier bills did, then I think it’s going to be hard for people to commit. But the trend is in the right direction.”
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) on CNN’s “State of the Union”
“The difficult choice is that this is not the bill I would write but it’s better than the status quo and what would we do if we don’t have that option?
Crowley: “You would vote against it if you come to the conclusion you don’t like it even if it meant health care would go down?”
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) on “Fox News Sunday”
“Well, I think given the vote dynamic, abortion may be the decisive issue. There is a block of voters who voted for the Stupak amendment. I voted for the Stupak amendments, who say they are not going to vote for the finish product unless they tighten the abortion language in the senate bill. We may see vote hold-outs based on that issue.”
Rep. John Adler (D-NJ) on “Fox News Sunday
“I have to know what the bill says. I'm one of the guys who believe I should read the bill first before making up my mind. There were pieces that were missing and the house bill failed to address cost containment.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on ABC’s “This Week” on the controversial RNC PowerPoint presentation that critics say had racial undertones
“That sort of thing is certainly not helpful; I can't imagine why anybody would have thought this helpful.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” on the RNC controversy
“There’s no excuse for that type of stuff. I, I just don’t agree with that type of thing.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after his appearance on ABC on whether Iraq is closer to being a democratic country
“As the Vice President – earlier no supporter of the Iraq war indicated - it could be one of the big accomplishments of this current administration.”
Have a great Sunday and week ahead.