Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Top House Liberal Suggests He Could Accept Deal On Senate Bill"

Greg Sargent:
In a sign that House liberals may be bracing to swallow much of the Senate bill with minimal changes, a key House progressive suggested in an interview with me that he might be able to support a bill without a public component, if the coverage in the bill were to kick in earlier than it currently does in the Senate proposal.
Rep Raul Grijalva, who as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is well respected by liberals, acknowledged the potential for supporting the bill under these conditions, making public what House aides have only said privately until now.

Grijalva cautioned, however, that House liberals would continue fighting for some kind of public component and would have trouble supporting the bill unless they were handed some kind of victory.

In the inteview, Grijalva confirmed that House Dems were beginning to discuss the idea of revising the Senate bill in conference to move up the implementation date for insurance coverage and make it more in line with the earlier date in the House bill.

I asked Grijalva if he could support the bill if such a change were made, even if it lacked a public option or other similar concessions sought by liberals.

“It would sweeten it somewhat,” Grijalva said, “if they speed up the coverage mechanism.”

He added: “That would be something I’d have to look at very closely.”

Asked if he was suggesting that he’s open to supporting such an outcome, Grijalva answered in the affirmative, but insisted that he would have to evaluate the changes in conference before making any decision. He said House liberals would continue to push for a public component and a repeal of the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies. And he demanded that conference negotiations not merely “rubber stamp” the Senate bill.

“We need a win on our side of the aisle,” Grijalva said. “That’s very important politically.”

But he seemed to hint that many liberals were bracing to accept something much more in line with the Senate bill than they would have hoped: “It’s gonna be a tough swallow.”
Howie P.S.: Coincidentally, I had some sausage with my breakfast today.

No comments: