Our of the 38 Reps called so far, if any general theme exists it is a sense that Democratic Reps are furious at the Senate for dumping the responsibility and blame in their lap. A lot of Reps, a surprising number in fact, seem to be holding out for the Senate to improve their bill, presumably through reconciliation.
That obviously seems like a pipe dream. Or is it? What do your Democratic Senators think? Email me or use this thread to report whether your Senator will commit to the idea. The intern who answers will also appreciate knowing what you would like your Senator to do and how strongly you feel about it.
The Senate switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
What is the point of having the House if the Senate’s 40th most conservative member gets to dictate to the House what it votes for? It begins to feel like negotiating with a kidnapper that keeps escalating their demands.
Honestly, I can’t say I blame them. Senators are egotistical assholes in ways reps can only dream of. I wish we’d lessen their terms to four years from six. That might light a fire under their overpaid, underworked, pasty white butts.
ETA: What MobiusKlein said. If someone would start calling senators blackmailers or legislative terrorists instead of “tough negotiators,” maybe people would understand.
Amazingly, the queen of the bill killers seems to have accepted that the way forward is to pass the Senate bill, as long as a bill with fixes is moved through reconciliation.
Mary in the other thread did have a good point that it sends mixed messages. Maybe we need a clear comment to deliver to the senate, something like “please ask the Senate to agree to fix the bill in reconciliation if the house first passes the senate version of HCR”.
That obviously seems like a pipe dream. Or is it?
Whether it’s a pipe dream or not, it’s exactly what they’re doing.
My understanding – largely from reading Ezra Klein – is that Reconciliation won’t work. Reconciliation can be used to tax and to spend, but not to regulate private business. We’ve basically got four ways of insuring the uninsured here:
1) Regulate insurance (guaranteed issue, community rating, ban rescission). Comes with mandates. Can’t be done by Reconciliation.
2) Single-payer. Can be done by Reconciliation, but can’t get fifty votes in the Senate.
3) Public option. Can be done by Reconciliation, but if it’s competing against unregulated private insurance then it just winds up accepting all the expensive sick people the private companies don’t want to cover. For this reason, doesn’t work in the absence of regulation of private insurance.
4) Tax people, then buy each of them regulated private insurance. Might be possible through Reconciliation, but about as likely to happen as single-payer.
So, at least as I understand Ezra, Reconciliation can’t deliver health care reform. Blowing up the filibuster could – but I haven’t heard anyone suggesting it might happen.
On the other hand, Reconciliation could be used retroactively to modify the taxing and spending parts of the Senate bill if the House were to pass it. Which brings us back to where we already were: the only path to health care reform that seems remotely conceivable now is getting the House to pass the Senate bill unmodified.
I do not have a Democratic Senator, being from Idaho, but I once more called into Congressman Minnick’s office to express my desire for him to vote for the Senate bill once it comes before the House.
I also mentioned that I know he voted against Health Care Reform before, but that I hoped it was only because he was a Democrat in Idaho and now that we really need his vote he’ll change his mind.
Now THIS makes sense.
BTW, you call it “holding out hope.” I think this is pretty firm and not brinksmanship.
There is nothing but bad for the unions in the Senate bill and their importance to Dem election campaigns, ESPECIALLY off-year election campaigns can not be oversstated.
there are not 218 votes for the Stand Alone Senate bill and there will not be, unless the unions say it is ok. I assume they will want something concrete before they agree to allow the Dems to vote for the Senate bill. how concrete? I dunno, a public announcement from the Senate and the President saying a deal has been reached on a reconciliation bill at least.
@KCinDC: But she also is pushing for a PO via the same reconciliation process.
Brick Oven Bill
It should be noted that the prediction was Scott Brown by two. He got 52% of the vote.
The next prediction is that the Democrats will lose the House this cycle, so here is a proposed wager. If any person chooses to take me up on the bet, the loser will have to post, under his or her screen-name, with no qualifications whatsoever, the following words:
‘Barack Obama is my dad.’
there are two ways i figure reconciliation can work with this bill. first is to waive the byrd rule, but that requires 60 votes so that aint gonna happen. second is to pass the bill as it is and then modify it later using reconciliation, i.e. the taxing and spending parts of it.
You all can go sing “We Shall Overcome” all you want, I’m not buying it anymore.
If delivering control of both Congress and the White House is not enough, then I’ll be dammed before I’m told I need to clap louder or beg over the phone in order to get any results, all the while being blamed for being angry at such an abject failure.
I QUIT, and I’m taking the popular majority that got Obama elected with me.
Just talked to Earl Blumenauer’s DC office. They wouldn’t commit to anything, just said that EB has always been supportive of health care reform (true as far as I know). Wouldn’t commit to passing the Senate bill as is. Staffer said that EB is ‘waiting for the leadership to tell us what to do.” No response when I asked what EB said at this morning’s meeting with leadership. Staffer claimed that reports that Blumenauer wanted to chop the bill up and stuff it through the Senate in detail (see ) are inaccurate. I let them know that if he doesn’t help push this through, I’d vote for Mickey Mouse in a primary; the staffer seemed sympathetic.
It seems to me the main thing that the house wants is a promise to alter the Cadillac health plan tax. Seems like that’s something small enough that can be done via reconciliation. So who needs to step up? The problem with suggesting that sort of thing on the phone is that the staffers that answer calls don’t know how things work, so they are just confused. Someone with some sense – like Schumer maybe – needs to propose that in exchange for the house getting it done.
All this info needs to get coordinated with Josh Marshall at TPM. More insiders read his blog and it might be helpful for them to see the activity.
Brad Miller’s office gave me the response of “I can’t comment on Congressman Miller’s opinion on voting for the Senate bill, but he does support HCR and voted for the House HCR bill with a public option.” I hope I’m not reading too much into the deliberate inclusion of the phrase “with a public option”. I left the message that it looked to me like proceeding with the Senate bill as is was the best of some not-very-good choices, and I wanted to encourage him to vote for it.
@BTD: Why do I get the sense that you are asking us to accept this situation and move on? Passing the Senate bill and fixing it later is the same position Labor is taking! We are trying to call and do research in support of that!
I called Pelosi’s office even though I don’t live in California and they logged my opinion in support of passing the Senate bill and thanked me for calling. So I guess they are logging all calls on this issue.
@BR: Schumer does need to step up if anything is to happen. Harry Reid is pretty much a lame duck who is useless at the best of times.
Just FYI, I did email the results of that underwhelming phone call to TPM also.
Some version of this seems like a worthy notion (and my most generous interpretation of BTD’s comment would be that it’s in the same vein).
Frankly, though, while it seems remotely plausible that Pelosi might be able to corral the votes to pass the Senate bill, whether with or without this maneuver – or at least that she can if anyone can, since she’s declared that she can’t at least right now – I have no confidence whatsoever in Reid’s ability to get 50 Dem Senators together to pledge later reconciliation, and even less that if he did manage to get such a pledge he could actually deliver on it.
@arguingwithsignposts: I’d argue personally for pass the bill + fix in reconciliation. In whatever order was needed to make it work.
That would involve some trust between (D) in the House and (D) in the Senate, and being able to do the parliamentary gymnastics to make it work. And the media spin to explain what happened. And sadly, I don’t see the (D) media team having the chops to pull 1/4 of that off.
Myself, I think (retroactively) the writing was on the wall when Congress voted to deny funds to have Obama close Guantanamo. A kneecapping of that campaign promise showed how little courage Congress had.
I just got off the phone with Mel Watt’s office. His intern/staffer gave me some evasive bullshit about not having made a decision on the Senate bill yet.
@KCinDC: Fuck Jane Hamsher.
This, in a sentence, is a major malfunction of our current representative democracy, and the Supreme Court just made it much, much worse. You think your opinion as an individual and an actual living breathing voting constituent doesn’t matter for shit now, it’s about to take on new dimensions of infinitesimalism.
Um… have people read about the new supreme court ruling that corporations can spend infinite money for election campaigns?
I wish this was the case, as he’d be able to get me a job at Goldman Sachs or in the media like the children of all politicians end up with. Unfortunately, my father is a retired NYPD cop, so no strings can be pulled for me. Like all the other peons, I have to scratch and claw to find a decent job in country in which there hasn’t been a decent job created in a decade.
Maybe the Senate (or at least some individual Senators) are a bunch of dicks, but I have little sympathy for the aggrieved House members right now. The fact that the Senate dumped responsibility in your lap sucks, but dump it they did, and the responsibility is going to stay there whether you like it or not. There is only one option here (well, two, but they amount to the same thing). Pass the damn thing.
In other words, they’re furious that their counterparts in the senate left them with no political cover because they are terrified of being portrayed as “for” health reform in the midterms. I think they need to remember what Matt Yglesias said yesterday: the House already voted for health reform once so they should at least make sure it passes.
Another problem I see today: the president is trying to sound a populist tone by taking on the banks today, but the Congress is trampling all over his messaging with their Chicken Little antics. They could at least back away from the mics for a while and figure out their next move, but nooooooo…..
Maybe Roland Emmerich should have named his blockbuster disaster movie “2010.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Reid and the administration can cajole 7 of the maybes from the Public Option whipping that OpenLeft did to get to 50 (assuming Biden is a clear yes for the 51st vote.)
It would be great though if Jane stopped framing her dissent on ths from the right (the creepy libertard argument about the individual mandate, the “corporate giveaway” nonsense, etc) and just backed the bill.
But you and I are allowed to spend infinite money, too? And the unions? After all, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.“
@Seebach: Yeah, and I think people are overreacting. They were already spending money on 527s and party committees. I think there is a fairly limited universe of people who were saying, “Well, I’d love to give a lot of money to Chuck Grassley, and if I can’t give it to him I won’t give it to the Tea Party Express.”
Wouldn’t be a bad excuse for Democrats to criticize the antilegal, ideological “justice” coming out of the Supreme Court these days, if they wanted to. I mean, between Bush v. Gore and the pro-segregation school decisions last year, there’s a case to be made. But since Dems seem to just want to curl into a ball and die, I guess it won’t happen.
You get that sense cuz it is what you want to sense.
I am applauding THIS activism Mary, because I think it gets at the path to passage – agreement between the House and Senate, to fix, via reconciliation (with just 50 Senators voting Aye) the Senate bill (to the satisfaction of the unions – almost certainly not much beyond the excise tax fix) in exchange for House passing the existing Senate bill.
I do not think that the House Dems will buck the unions on this. I think this is the path to passage.
I hope you folks NEVER stop this but until a bill is passed.
Indeed, this answers my critique of yesterday.
I called Nelson’s (FL) Washington office, and the polite and seemingly unhurried fellow who answered the phone told me “the Senator has no position on passing parts of the bill through reconciliation.”
I think I might’ve interrupted his nap.
I didn’t bother calling the local office as the staffers have quite literally barred the door when actual Democrats have shown up with petitions, et cetera.
@Brick Oven Bill:
How about we bet, instead that the loser never posts here again? Seriously?
I have a lot to lose as its likely that you will suffer a perma-banning between now and the election.
Grow the fuck up. Jesus.
Political reality. I thought Balloon Juice embraced it.
Worse than what offends you is the filibuster but it is of course a political reality as well.
What?? Insanity. You might as well wait for a pig to shit coffee.
My Senators are Bayh and Lugar. Bayh has been pretty vocal about his position. Lugar is loyal Republican on Domestic issues.
If Reid can not corral 50 votes to fix even the excise tax, then the bill will fail.
Apropos of nothing
Reading Nate Silver gives me an idea of why people hate Dianne Feinstein so much (not just for the war). Useless. I’d donate for a primary opponent there, for sure.
@James Phillips: We are coordinating, at least in the sense that I already sent him a spreadsheet of what we got so far. Also, he posted about calling in about 20 minutes after I emailed him about it. FWIW.
I was going to make a comment about needing more mattresses to patch the gash in the Titanic’s hull, but I suppose now is not a good time for levity. Good thing my kids are half Chinese, I suppose.
@Mr Furious: Seconded. I realize that the House did a lot of work and it all got shitcanned because Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson and Lieberman want to keep their clout, and that’s too bad. But what was the fucking goal of that work? I wonder if there are more than a dozen Dems in Congress with any sort of vision or sense of history. Luckily, two of them are in leadership positions, but the fact remains…
I am liking this call to arms, but I wish there was more (or something) I could to to join. It sucks to be represented by some of the dumbest Republican goons in congress.
I think the House is right to call shenanigans on the Senate. The Senate created this mess, they need to fix it or as last Tuesday shown it is going to be those Blue Dogs who caused this crap with their grandstanding out of job and good riddance.
I called my Rep–John Adler of NJ–who voted AGAINST the bill the first time around (even though he’s a Dem!) and told the nice woman who answered the phone that I REALLY want him to vote for the Senate bill, if it comes to that. I said “I think this is our only chance.”
She took my name and where I live, and said she’d tell Adler.
@BTD: OK then. The Congress needs a groundswell of public opinion AND the unions.
@BTD: Why don’t you ask Jane to ask her readers to do the same thing? As long as we are (1) doing a roll call, and (2) demanding reconciliation, FDL and this site are perfectly aligned for a change.
@BTD: Embracing political reality is hard. Melodrama is so much more satisfying.
The House members have every right to be pissed. It’s reasonable and understandable.
Don’t let bruised feelings determine the fate of tens of millions of Americans. There will be plenty of time to stick it to the Senate. This isn’t the vehicle. The future of the Democratic Party (and the fate of many “safe seats”) is at stake.
Sorry, I was busy and so I am late to the party, but, oh my god, that Supreme Court ruling is the worst message since the Lehman Brothers collapse. That’s ten times worse than the Massachusetts election. Because it will buy you ten times more senators. And the financial problems of the RNC are solved.
@Ailuridae: Well, you’re right about that, she’s still harping on stuff that no one can change at this point. But there is one other problem with her grand master plan. It appears that even a proposed reconciliation bill would still have to be voted out of committee, which means it could effectively be filibustered. That’s what I’ve been able to figure out so far. If that’s right, the gambit to kick the bill back upstairs might not work.
@KCinDC: The commentariat at FDL must be getting whiplash right about now.
I called both my senators who won’t commit either way. But I told them they better do it. And I didn’t call them bastards, but I thought it. I admire my own restraint sometimes.
The Grand Panjandrum
@BTD: I think reconciliation would need to include not only fixing the excise tax, but removing the sweetheart deals for Louisiana and Nebraska. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nelson and Landrieu demanded it after all the backlash they’ve received at home. But, yes, at a minimum it would require these things. Shouldn’t be that hard to do.
Unfortunately, it would leave the restriction on abortion coverage, but I don’t see any way around that in the Senate. It can’t be removed in reconciliation.
@Joel: Oakland resident here. I second your comment.
She’s almost 80. Time to retire. There really should be a max age for congress too.
Good idea. Problem is I think Jane will ask for more than what is gettable.
She is demanding a public option. That is not going to happen. Maybe, you can get a Medicare Buy In down the line, but right now, the fixes will be fairly minor.
But fixing the excise tax is a must. Personally I think that will satisfy the unions for now and they will greenlight a Yes vote on the Senate bill.
Jane won’t be happy with that. I won;t be either. But I see it as acceptable for 2 major reasons. Number 1 – it established the idea that the bill WILL BE improvable in the future by reconciliation. Number 2 – it opens up the public insurance program known as Medicaid.
Armando or whatever other annoying person whose name reminds me of Homer in the muumuu episode, I realize that the filibuster, the recent Supreme Court decisions, and the undue influence of groups which I do not consider to have the same First Amendment rights as individuals, are all political realities. If you’re not allowed to bitch about things, and if you’re not allowed to point something out as a problem in need of a remedy, then there’s not a helluva lot of point to either blogs or government, is there? And yes, I bitch about the telling accuracy and the ramifications of that phrase.
When I called Tammy Baldwin’s office, part of the argument that I made was that there were important parts of the Senate bill that could not be done through reconciliation to get around the 60 vote “requirement”. But many of the changes that we would like to see in the bill could be done through reconciliation. I told her that I recognized that there were also challenges in using reconciliation and she kind of laughed bitterly and agreed, so I’m not sure that those in her office at least believe that the Senate will bother with reconciliation once the Senate version is passed – at least, not without additional pressure. Of course, she didn’t explicitly say that so I may be reading more into the comment than was intended.
Today’s SCOTUS decision is going to delay any possible resolution for HCR. First, our Reps and Senators are going to be busy auctioning themselves off to the highest bidder and second, some of them will have to get fresh instructions should some ambitious corp outbid their old masters. The delay shouldn’t be too long because for the most part it’s just a matter of how much more it will cost to buy them.
Sherrod Brown’s office says he is committed to doing whatever it takes. When I told his staffer that failing on this would mean the death of the progressive agenda for the foreseeable future, she told me that Brown “whole-heartedly agrees.” She wouldn’t commit on Brown’s position on reconciliation, but assured me that Brown was involved in discussions to figure something out. Brown is about the only guy, short of Franken I trust to actually try to get something done. So, maybe.
@BTD: Too bad. We could use her readers’ help. Frankly I think that everyone should be doing this instead of bitching at each other pseudonymously, and it drives me nuts that I’m basically alone here.
Well Josh Marshall has jumped in, now, and thank FSM for that.
My senator is, ahem, Olympia Snowe.
Any thoughts as to what might light a fire under her ass? Because I cannot think of any. She is spooked that she might be primaried, because actually she gets more support from Dems and independents than from Republicans in these parts. They generally can’t stand her.
I could not get a yea or nay from the very nice guy answering the phone in Vic Snyder’s office (AR)…all he would do is point me to Pelosi’s comment.
BUT I don’t see how it would matter to Snyder as he is not running again.
This is the same activism that you couldn’t wrap your ultra-dense mind around yesterday, so you’ll excuse me if I find that these sentiments ring just as hollow as the jibber-jabber you were spouting off 24 hours ago.
I just called Mary Jo Kilroy‘s (D OH-15) Washington DC office and asked her aid if she intends to vote for the Senate health care bill as is. The response was that the bill is not currently in front of congress so her aid is not aware of her position. I made it clear that failure to pass this bill will be the end of my active support of Democrats.
Sherrod Brown is the fucking king. I love that guy.
The Grand Panjandrum
@Tim F.: Tim someone up thread linked to her HuffPo piece and she is still on the public option bandwagon. She’s convinced that the 67 critters who signed her pledge will honor it. Mebbe, mebbe not. But I don’t think she is going to let it go. She was willing to align herself with Grover Norquist so I just don’t see her giving up that ghost.
I sent stinkers to my senators yesterday. Didn’t hear back from DiFi (no surprise) but Barbara Boxer’s office sent back a message that seemed to commit to passing HCR. Dunno if this was an old message that they hadn’t updated or if she was genuinely on board Anyhow, she’s one of the good ones.
I called Carolyn Maloney’s Manhattan office and was told by a staffer that they didn’t know her position and suggested I call the DC office. Called DC office and got some boilerplate about a strong healthcare bill with a public option; I interrupted to say, OK, so she won’t vote for the senate bill? And he jumped in to say, nonono! Something is better than nothing and we know we have to do something! So, I thanked him and said I looked forward to learning her position on the senate bill and he said, Me too! And then I said, we are all doomed if this bill does not pass! And he said, I know! Fin.
OT – The comedy writes itself sometimes.
This. We live in a universe of drama queens.
Gee. I can’t think of any way for Dame Olly to hold on to her seat with only the support of Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans in a state Obama won by 20 points. I confess to a odd fascination with Snowe: Why she clings to a Senate seat she doesn’t seem to do much with or have any issues she really cares about (I have the same question about Specter? And why she stays in the Republican Party (I used to have this question about Specter)? Collins, I think is just dumb and pleasantly surprised to find herself having risen so high.
Rep. McDermott Introduces Resolution Urging Senate to Amend Filibuster
A member of the House introducing a resolution to “urge” the Senate to amend the filibuster…
Me too, and you know why? Because he is NOT AFRAID OF WINGNUTS. Unlike most of the rest of his party, he refuses to be cowed.
I think Connecticut for Lieberman has already blazed the trail Snowe should take if she can’t just become a Dem. “Independent” would serve her better.
I have three reasons in polls for Browns’ victory (there are probably more,sadly one of which involves Red Sox/Yankee knowledge)
1. Bad Democratic Candidate.
2. Continuing economic problems (including big bonuses to bankers), and
3. Health care reform.
Before I could decide on whether or not to hold out for reconciliation, a factor would be what was in the minds of the swing voters whose decision was based on voting against the health care reform (3 above) is — do they not want hcr because:
a. discomfort with the horse trading.
b. Health care reform is a bad idea — essentially the conservative stance. or:
c. The health care plan in congress is a step back for this state, which already has a health care plan and we are doing alright. (I’ve got mine, why take the risk?)
I haven’t seen any polls that break this out — only those that some swing voters were basing their votes on their dislike of the hcr now in congress. If the reason for negative views of hcr in the majority of swing voters is b above, I would pass it as is. If the reason was some combination of a and c above, I would simplify my arguments (a version of subsidized medicare for anyone who wants it) and go for reconciliation.
For those who say error on the side of caution and pass the bill as is, and see what I could get later through reconciliation, I would say you won’t get anything important through later add-on processes. Congress will see its job as “done” and be glad to move on to other things.
But while I might go for reconciliation (as I wanted from the start ) with the sheepish dems we have in congress, I think the bill as is or nothing is what we are going to get.
The Dems also need better messaging. I know that the Democratic Party is basically founded upon decentralism with thousands of unions and civil rights groups, but they need to have a unified voice to break into the mainstream. At the beginning of each legislative session the elected Dems need to settle on a few core projects they want to pursue and then find the arguments to sell them, and repeat them over and over again. They have lost the new-media advantage that carried their message through clearer channels in 2006 and 2008. Now they need to retaliate the republican onslaught of deceit. They don’t need their own think-tank universe, they’ve got enough advocacy groups already – even too many small ones, one could say. And before the Democrats lose their congressional majorities – whenever that happens – they need to plant the seeds of their own future power groups, and I don’t mean “Big Coal” if that still exists, I am thinking of “Big Sun” or “Big Wind”; a rural agenda, and unions to balance the power of big corporations. The best policies will get passed if there is an equilibrium of power.
Absolutely. We’re in a fucked up spot because every single party here expects someone else to save them. Nobody is doing anything the least bit risky.
IT ISN’T A CENTER RIGHT COUNTRY DAMN IT!!!!!!!
Scott Brown means nothing!!!!!! Left leaning initiatives are popular and we will force them on the American people.
You people are classic.
regarding swing voters. They are vastly more important in the Senate than the House. I expect this observation will get lost in the comment-storm today, but here’s a thought. This game of chicken between Senate Dems and House Dems is structural, which means expect much, much more of this, so long as the current distribution of seats by party in both chambers resembles what we have now. Here’s why:
The country is deeply polarized and getting more so by the day. But the geographic distribution of the Dem and GOP base is to a considerable degree along urban vs. rural lines. Which means that most states have both, but many congressional districts do not. From this it follows that for most Senators, elections are about swing voters in states which have both Dem and GOP bases which roughly balance each other. That is why we have so many Blue Dog Senators.
For House reps on the other hand, most elections are base elections rather than swing voter elections. Many House Reps have a much more limited set of potential swing voters to appeal to in their own district (courtesy of gerrymandering) than do the Senators from the same state. So for House Reps, elections are about invigorating the base and GOTV, and less about appealing to swing voters.
At times of electoral stress (like now) this puts the House and the Senate on a collision course in terms of what they want and how they want to be positioned going into the next election. At times of fear and uncertainty, Senators will instinctively herd to the middle, and House Reps need to do the opposite.
Barbara Mikulski (MD) will vote for the excise tax fix in reconciliation.
Ben Cardin (MD) is still working on a statement of his position.
@arguingwithsignposts, please, no need to bring Lieberman into it. She’d be following in the footsteps of Jeffords, and specifically not taking the ignominious route of Lieberman, waiting until the voters have already rejected you once and then creating a fake party named after yourself. It was only Connecticut’s unusual election laws that allowed Lieberman’s gambit.
She usually wins with >65% of the vote, and Maine Democrats generally run either weak or very liberal candidates against her. In actuality, Maine Republicans have very little choice in a general election. And really, both parties like the idea that she is a so-called “game-changer” who puts a lot of eyes on what is actually a very poor and rural state.
I think a) she sees herself as the last (wo)man standing that really represents Republican virtues and is not ready to throw the towel in on the party yet, and b) she really can’t stand Democrats.
There is no question Susan Collins is a moron, and a Republican mostly because Bill Cohen was a Republican.
I’m getting ready to go to my car for lunch. I’ll make the call from there, even though my rep. already said he would vote for the bill. I wrote out what I want to say so I wouldn’t get flustered. There are lots of caps and exclamation points, but what the hell, he can’t see what I wrote:
You are my congressman. I’m counting on you. PASS the Senate Healthcare bill! Pass the fixes separately through reconciliation. You need the framework of the Senate bill. You can’t get enough done through reconciliation alone. And you can’t break it up and pass a bunch of pieces; the Senate can’t pass ANYTHING without 60 votes! How do you think you will get lots of bills passed if you can’t get 1 bill passed? Republicans are not interested in cooperating on good policy. They don’t care a bit about good policy. They only want to defeat Democrats and regain power. If you don’t do this now, we won’t have another opportunity for at least a generation. When will the environment be more conducive? My 27 year old son needs healthcare NOW! My 61 year old sister needs healthcare NOW!
If you can’t get this signature issue passed, we will have Republican control of the government for the next 20 years. And you know what? If Democrats can’t pass this, with a Democratic president, and the biggest Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in a generation, we DESERVE TO LOSE!
Last election was the first time I got involved in politics outside of voting. I spent every weekend from Sept. 1 on, canvassing in VA or PA. During the week I hand-wrote postcards to women voters in VA. I spent the last 5 days before the election in PA canvassing full-time. If Democrats in the House and Senate work for me to get this done, I will work just as hard for you this election. If not, I’ll do what the Democrats in Massachusetts did – sit home.
Senator Boxer’s and Feinstein’s (CA) offices both told me they had no position or statement on reconciliation. Boxer’s aide actually put me on hold for several minutes before getting an answer back to me. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Obama will be tough on the banks!
On the other hand, the White House background briefing is that their proposals would freeze biggest bank size “as is”.
Same as it ever was.
It is pretty different activism I think.
The post speaks for itself.
Moreover, if you were calling Senators yesterday, that is news to me.
surely you must agree that that is different.
What are you referring to? If it’s the fact that the bill needs to be voted out of the finance committee, then please don’t use the word “filibuster”, since that’s nothing like a filibuster.
Maybe they had to think about it for a minute.
@Kennedy: Call Pelosi. She’s your Speaker too…and I think she needs encouragement right now.
No joy in Mudville
Poor widdle babies. If there is one thing an American elected official doesn’t want, it’s responsibility.
No joy in Mudville
I’d rather reduce their pay to minimum wage.
I’m calling my Rep and Pelosi every day from now until ?
The notion that the House should take its marching orders from Max Baucus and Joe Lieberman is ludicrous. At some point the House has to stand up for itself. And if that means no bill, it means no bill.
I see no good reason to let Lieberman, Baucus, and the other industry shills to be the only ones who are allowed to make an ultimatum.
I would contend that it’s a natural evolution of the process commenced yesterday.
In my opinion, of course.
@KCinDC: No, you’re right. I garbled it. I should have said ‘get the bill to the floor’. Lawrence O’Donnell had said that the reconciliation process is still subject to various parliamentary procedures, and there was some discussion on another sight that delay tactics and perhaps holds, etc. could be imposed. On reading further, apparently none of his objections matter for what the Dems are trying to accomplish now.
So I just called my congressman Scott Murphy (D-NY) and spoke with one of his staffers and he said it looks like they can’t get the Senate bill through the House and so the White House and others are pushing for drastically pairing down their ambitions and basically sending a bunch of bills or one bill loaded with all the non-controversial goodies (no pre-existing conditions discrimination, no excision, etc.) through the House and Senate. He said, and I agreed, that this is far from ideal – and will likely lead to higher costs and could be an eventual political disaster – but it’s also much better than doing nothing. I told him that I voted for Murphy, was happy to do so, and that while I was disappointed by his Nay vote for the House bill, I understood why he made that decision. I implied that I would be far less willing to vote for Murphy this year unless the Congressman was a voice for movement – for doing something – on HCR, and he said that Rep. Murphy intends to be so and does not consider inaction to be an option both in policy and political terms.
On the less encouraging side, my girlfriend, who is registered in PA, called Rep. Sestak’s office and couldn’t get a straight answer one way or another about how the Congressman intends to vote re: the Senate bill.
Just saw this from the NY Daily News.
Pelosi wants to go the reconciliation route, but they’re pretty vague about what they actually mean.
Now Howard Dean is spouting off, joining the “break this bill up and pass something smaller” Caucus. Will nobody put a friggin’ muzzle on this guy?
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@Malron: There is already a 2010. You know, the sequel to 2001.
Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle
@Lisa K.: I’ll say it again here, Maine doesn’t throw out incumbents. For them to do so would be a bigger upstate then Brown’s win was considered two months ago.
Jim McDermott is my rep. This summer he said he would oppose a bill without a public option. Oh, how I cheered him then. Today, I called his office to “take his temperature.” The young woman I talked to indicated that, while McDermott has not made a statement on his position, events in MA have “certainly changed things,” and Rep McDermott is interested in trying to keep things moving forward. I said I wanted to register my support for the Rep finding a way to get something passed for HRC this year.
I also called Senator Cantwell to urge her and her colleagues not to fold on this. I let her know that it would be devastating to walk away from HRC. I will give the same message to Patty Murray.
@Makewi: Concern troll is concerned.
@ Tim F. I just posted a link to the earlier “call your reps” post with the list of helpful hints over at Ta-Nehisi’s place.
May I suggest that those of us who comment in other places do the same? The more people we can catch with our internet wiles, the better.
(Going to post this appeal on the other, related threads as well).
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
It’s enough to make me ponder: should they have kept him on at the DNC, where maybe they could have muzzled him and having actual responsibilities he might not have thrown so many rhetorical bombs – or were they right to get rid of him because it seems like every time he opens his mouth these days he sounds ignorant?
I mean, he did a good job at the DNC, and I have no idea what it anything the new guy is doing. and maybe that should count a bit. But his recent pronouncements give me the definite sense that either he’s really bitter or he’s really stupid.
Just for your information, I didn’t get that from your post.
But then again, that’s why you check back for understanding.
Jim McDermott was my rep for about a decade before I left town for grad school, and is still my parents’ rep. If he’s ever accomplished anything in office or done anything but run his mouth about how his ideals are more pure than anyone else’s, I’ve never noticed it. He was real useful to the wingers when he visited Saddam in 2002 on Saddam’s dime, though.
Sacramento, Doris Matsui- according to a staffer, she’s been “very supportive” and wants to get the overhaul passed, but the staffer was not 100% committed to saying she would vote yes. It sounds likely, though.
Just called Feingold’s office. His aide had me on hold for probably 5 minutes or so before taking my comment. He has not yet released a statement regarding his opinion on using reconciliation to improve the health care bill so that the House could pass it, but I urged him to do what he can to improve the bill through reconciliation.
Kohl’s up next …
I just spoke with a Dingell staffer in the DC office. Said Dingell would prefer the house bill he sponsored, but if it comes right down to it, he’d vote for the Senate bill. When I told him I thought it has to be done quickly, he said Dingell’s working on getting a bill through, and that he thinks it ok to pass the Senate bill and build from there. I wasn’t up to date on asking re: reconciliation so don’t have that info. The staffer was very nice and unrushed. He was careful to take my name and e-mail address and said he would pass my comments up to his superiors and make sure the Congressman gets them.
Well, I was on hold with Sherrod Brown’s office and after 22 minutes hung up without speaking to anyone.
My rep is Jean Schmidt and I’m not wasting my minutes on her, so I called freshman Rep. Steve Driehaus from the neighboring OH-01, seeing as I was a volunteer on his campaign and worked like hell to get him elected. His staffer was a very nice young gentleman who said, “It’s nice to hear a friendly voice.” That scared me a little, for obvious reasons. Anyhow, Driehaus’ staffer would only say he “is working with the Democratic caucus to reach a solution.” He repeated it a few times. Extremely non-committal.
But a nice guy. I’m not feeling good about this. And do keep in mind that Driehaus is one of the races the firebaggers polled, and he’s likely a one-termer-and-out, seeing as how his district is more Catholic than Rome and he’s not voting for anything without a Stupak-type amendment, the way I see it.
I called my congressman – Keith Ellison (MN-5). He’s apparently part of the squishy sore loser public option caucus. They wouldn’t commit either way on the phone.
I expressed my desire for a public statement before the precinct caucuses a couple weeks out and let them know that I would consider silence to be opposition and opposition to passing the senate bill to be the same as opposing HCR.
The House members feel screwed because they are facing a take-it-or-leave-it bill, after they already voted for HCR.
I wonder if with future legislation, the House will simply not act until the Senate passes something first, after which the House can then tinker with it and then throw back at the other chamber.
Capuano (D-MA)’s health care staffer seemed aware of and open to the idea of passing the Senate bill and hoping to improve it via Reconciliation, and said that he was working to make sure something happened, but wouldn’t commit to his supporting the Senate bill.
Finally go through to Lipinski’s office (3rd District of Illinois). The person who answered the phone “had not spoke to the Congressman today on this issue” but would relay my concerns to the Congressman.
J. A. Baker
I don’t have Democratic Senators, I live in Texas.
You may now weep for American democracy.
I called my rep, Congressman Howard Berman (CA). The staffer didn’t know his position on accepting the Senate version of the bill, but confirmed my information to get back to me, and took my opinion. I said I appreciated Berman’s vote on the House bill, and while I thought the Senate bill was flawed, I supported him voting to accept it.
For my senators, I might try out that “Please ask the Senate to agree to fix the bill in reconciliation if the house first passes the senate version of HCR” message.
@Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle:
“I’ll say it again here, Maine doesn’t throw out incumbents. For them to do so would be a bigger upstate then Brown’s win was considered two months ago.”
Well, once in a while we do. We threw out Bill Hathaway for Bill Cohen in 1972, and on the House side threw out James Longley Jr. for Tom Allen in 1996. So, there’s remote precedent…but neither of those incumbents had anywhere near the popularity of the two Senate holders now. Snowe especially is a goddess in this state.
@J. A. Baker:
I don’t have Democratic senators and I live in Maine, for crissakes.
@J. A. Baker: Ditto.
There’s nothing we could possibly do.
General Winfield Stuck
Well, I called Tom Udall’s office in Dc and spoke at length to a staffer about the possibility of using reconciliation and it was like asking the meaning of life. Runaround and all that, or Udall will have to wait and see. So it might be premature to push for the Recon. for a PO until things shake out with what the house will do with the current passed senate bill.
Though if anyone would support it Udall would, true blue libtard. But any announcement or even rumblings from senators on their intent to use is would set off a political firestorm, so I can understand them wanting to keep it under their hat for now.
Of course, when the wingnuts used reconciliation to pass welfare reform in the 90’s it instantly became the cause celeb real patriotism and wingnuts were just doing their duty using the rules to get what they want. The precious Heathers of true Americanism make me want to puke, and is why I am an Obot, and shockingly Yellow Dog Democrat.
And left a message at Bingamans office, another great senator I don’t worry much about. We now have two of the best in this state, unlike say Masshole Chooosits.
You know, we all need a good dose of Sinclair Lewis to make us remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same. There have always been teabaggers, it is just that they used to call themselves the KKK and the DAR.
@General Winfield Stuck:
I would love Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall to be my senators, instead of the gold dust twins…*sniff*
@TuiMel: I live in Kirkland, so McDermott is close to my heart.
Just out of curiosity, what did Murray’s office say?
FYI BJers – Patty Murray is a long-time senator from Washington who (imo) has a very real chance of getting teabagged by a former NFL player and full-on Palinite. More info here.
Pelosi’s insistence that she does not have the votes for the Senate bill is probably just a signal to the Senate that it should get on with reconciliation, something that should have been done this Fall.
Since I live in a republican district (and therefore calling my rep. would be of no use at all), would calling Pelosi, or any of the other house leadership be worthwhile?
oops – meant to reference warrenterra!
I cannot disagree with your assessment of McDermott. He himself has mused upon the possible detriment of his continued ability to get re-elected in his sleep. I wish he would step aside and let a center-left someone with more energy take his place I did not report my call to him as an endorsement. Rather, I reported it as an indicator that one of the most liberal House members – one with seemingly nothing to fear from their electorate – is seeing that he may need to consider that he is now faced with the dilemna of not letting the “hardly perfect” be the enemy of the “better than nothing.”
Hell, Ben Nelson’s constituents don’t have a Democratic senator, and he (supposedly) is a Democrat.
Put a call in to Senator Murray. Dumped to voice mail at DC number, so I called the Seattle office.
Response was, that they’re “working on it.” And, they don’t have “full Democratic support.” Very much in the tone of “You dumb, plebeian. Don’t you know how hard this sh!t is?” My tone very much “Cry me a river, and why should I vote for Democrats if they cannot get anything done?” I think Democrats are feeling very much under siege today.
Well, that’s upsetting and frustrating, but not at all surprising. I don’t know WTF Murray does during the day, and I was looking forward to not voting for her, but now she’s being challenged by teabaggers so I need to make sure they don’t win.
It never fucking ends.
Called Sen. Ron Wyden D-OR’s Portland office. Stated who I was, that I was a constituent and that I hoped that the House would pass the Senate bill as is and then that the Senate, together w/the House, would use reconciliation to toughen up the bill, make it more like the strong single payer bill I favored.
The staffer didn’t know where Wyden stood on that and stated that she thought “Pelosi had stated she didn’t have the votes for the Senate bill”. I stated, and she agreed, that that was still up in the air and that IF the House were to pass the Senate bill, blah, blah.
End result, Wyden has no stand on reconciliation yet (at least known to his Portland staffers).
There’s what’s called “sidecar” reconciliation, where the Senate bill is passed and then immediately modified in reconciliation. It’s…possible. But it would take real leadership in the House, and and support from the Senate Democrats. So far no-one in the House has stepped up to the plate, though Pelosi has come closer than most, and the Senators are taking the position that it’s the House’s problem.
Is the USA to abandon bicameralism to pass health care? What kind of Democratic Party would be left after such a victory?
Called Sen. Jeff Merkley D-OR’s Portland office. Stated I was a constituent who’d worked for his campaign and that I hoped that the House would pass the Senate bill as is and then that the Senate, together w/the House, would use reconciliation to toughen up the bill, make it more like the strong single payer bill I favored.
The staffer didn’t know where Merkley stood on it stated that the mood in the office was in favor of doing exactly that. I stated, and she agreed, that that was still up in the air and that IF the House were to pass the Senate bill, blah, blah.
End result, Merkley has no stand on reconciliation yet (known to his Portland office) but his staffers support it.
Called Rep David Wu D-OR’s Portland office. Registered my approval of passing the Senate HCR bill as is and then toughening it in reconciliation. Wu’s staffers said he had no stand as yet.