February 28th, 2010
02:30 PM ET
13 years ago

State of the Union: Candy Crowley's Crib Sheet for Feb. 28

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/07/art.sotucandy0207.cnn.jpg caption="In her Crib Sheet, CNN's Candy Crowley wraps the news from Sunday's political talk shows."]
The Democrats’ "way forward" on health care reform hit a pothole Sunday when the mild mannered Chair of the Budget Committee, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) said on CBS that reconciliation for comprehensive health care reform "will not work." Oops. For starters, Conrad doesn't think insurance market reform, or delivery system reform can be passed using reconciliation.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told NBC he also wants Medicare out of the mix, arguing entitlements are "too important" to be part of the reconciliation process.

And certainly a bipartisan vote is all but out of the question. Asked if there was anything the president could do to get Republican votes, short of starting over, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told me, "I don't think so…"

Where will it all end?  Whatever "it" is may end at the ballot box.  On State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tossed off any whispers that she could end up losing her House majority. "The Democrats will retain the majority in the House of Representatives... I'm not yielding one grain of sand."  She artfully dodged an opportunity to guess how many, if any seats she might lose.

But, on ABC, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is predicting (or is that hoping?) that if the Democrats go the reconciliation route and "jam this through" it would be "a political kamikaze mission for the Democratic Party."

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), on “Face The Nation” on the reconciliation process
“It will not work because of the Byrd Rule which says anything that doesn't score for budget purposes has to be eliminated. That would eliminate all the delivery system reform, all the insurance market reform, all of those things the experts tell us are really the most important parts of this bill. The only possible role that I can see for reconciliation would be to make modest changes in the major package to improve affordability to deal with what share of Medicaid expansion the federal government pays and those kinds of issues which is the traditional role for reconciliation.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), on “Meet The Press”
“Robert Byrd also in the 70s exempted Social Security, Social Security cannot be considered in reconciliation. We should do the same thing with Medicare. Lindsey Graham and I'll be introducing legislation; entitlements should not be part of a reconciliation process i.e., 51 votes. It's too important. It's one sixth of our Gross National Product.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), on “State of the Union”
CROWLEY: “Is there any way the president can reconfigure this bill that would get your support?
MCCONNELL: “I don't think so, Candy. This is a massive overhaul of one-sixth of the economy. Republicans don't believe half a trillion in Medicare cuts and half trillion dollars in new taxes and possibly higher insurance premiums for all in the insurance market is reform.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), on “State of the Union”
“The Democrats will retain the majority in the House of Representatives. We have a huge move - what, 54, 55 vote majority. We had a swing in the last two elections of a 110 seats. I'm not yielding one grain of sand, we're fighting for every seat.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), on “This Week”
“There's never been anything of this size and this magnitude and complexity run through the Senate in this way. There are a lot of technical problems with it that we could discuss. It would turn the Senate, it would really be the end of the United States Senate as a protector of minority rights, as a place where you have to get consensus instead of just a partisan majority. And it would be a political kamikaze mission for the Democratic Party if they jam this through.”

Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Health care has already passed in the Senate by 60 votes. If the House passes the same thing, it's done.

    Then the necessary fixes can be put in place by reconciliation to further save $$.

    Read people – don't just listen to weekly talking points.

    By the way, some of the fixes that will be passed by reconciliation were recommended by the very republicans that WILL vote against it.

    February 28, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Brian from CA

    It's simply amazing to me how much the Republicans cry about the use of reconcilliation WHEN they are not the ones using it. And yes, it has been used on important pieces of legislation before and it is ironic how the republicans used it on those HUGE tax cuts to the rich that ended up contributing significantly to the deficits we now have.

    Yeah...GO REPUBLICANS. I suppose if you lie and cry about things long enough you get your way.

    Hopefully, American voters can see through this crap.

    February 28, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain's only brings to the table things he's known in the past, he never brings his level of thinking into today. McCain will mention the future for our children but that's in conflict with solutions of today, you can't talk about the future without having solutions for today.

    February 28, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Ken in NC

    I know deep down in my heart that Insurance Reform would be good for this nation for several reasons, however, I have to give it to Republicans, they, without a dout must all be the best used car salesmen in the nation. With all the stuff they are throwing out there to scare the American public, I see how people would be scared of it but when you look at what the Insurance and Drug industries are doing to rates and drug prices right now it would be hard not to want to end it for them. I have no desire to see the insurance comapnies go out of business but if it comes down to our country paying the kinds of monthly cost they are putting on us now or the chance for more reasonable health care cost, I have to adopt the attitude towards them that they have towards us. SINK OR SWIM. TOUGH. They are in a much better position to survive with less profits than we are with no money or health care coverage.

    February 28, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    At this point I would not vote for a Rethuglican for dog catcher. The real question is how hard will I work for the Democratic party. I would be a lot more enthusiastic about them if they showed some spine and really went after the GOP (Greedy Obstructionist Pinheads) on this.

    Bring it on!

    February 28, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Republicans spent us into a recession with useless tax cuts, preferential treatment for big business and the wealthy and an even more useless war.
    Local and state parties need to push, press and drive home the desaster the Republicans gave America under their control. Use the same fear tactic the Republicans do to remind people that given the chance, change can & will come.
    The question is- are you better of now that in 2000? Your answe should tell you how to vote in 2010.

    February 28, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. valwayne

    Why not let the voters decide? Lets put the healthcare bill on hold and focus on the economy and jobs. If the American people want the corrupt monstrosity that Obama and the Democrats have put together they will vote for more Democrats in Nov. If they don't they will vote for more Republicans. Instead of letting the economy go down the toilet while Obama plays corrupt games trying to pass this monstrosity lets put it aside and trust the voters to decide!!!!! The next election is only 8 months away!!!

    February 28, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Paul H

    Pelosi tells Lawmakers to pass this bill even if it means the end of their political career.
    If it means the end of a politicians job, then that politician didn't listen to their constitutes! Therefore they deserve to lose their jobs.
    We have a Representative of the people, asking others to vote yes on a bill no matter what.
    Is it any wonder as to why "We the People" feel there is a big disconnect between us, and Washington? I mean are people really paying attention to the things coming out of the mouths of these Representatives? Is this really a free nation anymore?
    I mean I feel like screaming "Hello, I'm right over here" "I can see, and hear everything your doing"
    Bottom line it's not about "We the People" anymore! It's all about more money in Washington, and over spending of future monies.

    February 28, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |