Health care reform - The White House looks serious
That's the word from Greg Sargent (see below), whose political reporting is generally well-sourced and reliable. This is significant, because the threat to get around the filibuster by using reconciliation is a sign that they're really serious. As Sargent remarks, it involves "essentially daring Republicans to try to block reform." It also challenges wavering Congressional Democrats to come off the fence and decide which side they're on. And after an entire year in which the Democrats, unaccountably, let the Congressional Republicans get away with a strategy of unremitting and monolithic obstructionism while making barely a peep about it, over the past several weeks a public-relations offensive highlighting the Republicans' unprecedented abuse of the filibuster has helped to set the stage for a confrontation.
Whether or not this will work remains to be seen. There may be some high-stakes political drama coming up.
Marc Ambinder's Politics blog
February 22 2010
White House: If GOP Filibusters, We'll Pass Health Reform Via Reconciliation
The game of chicken commenceth -- right now.
In the course of unveiling Obama's new health reform proposal on a conference call with reporters this morning, White House advisers made it clearer than ever before: If the GOP filibusters health reform, Dems will move forward on their own and pass it via reconciliation.
The assertion, which is likely to spark an angry response from GOP leaders, ups the stakes in advance of the summit by essentially daring Republicans to try to block reform.
"The President expects and believes the American people deserve an up or down vote on health reform," White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said on the call.
Pfeiffer said no decision had been made how to proceed, pending the outcome of the summit. But he added that Obama's proposal is designed to have "maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform."