TPMDC is reporting that Rob Andrews will be one of the participants at the big White House meeting on health care reform between Democrats and Republicans. As TPM’s Christiana Bellatoni observes:
Andrews, chairman of a health subcommittee of the Education and Labor Committee, is not a fan of the excise tax that’s included in the Senate version of the bill and in President Obama’s plan he outlined yesterday.
As a practical matter, here are the possibilities Democrats face that don’t involve completely craven surrender, and you should keep them in mind as the pundits and politicians talk:
A. Pass a comprehensive bill through the House (217 votes) and Senate (51 votes, but 60 to beat the filibuster first), whether starting over or by modifying the existing bills after conference committee.
B. The House passes last December’s Senate bill with 217 votes. Not one word could be changed.
C. Pass health reforms that are budget-related through reconciliation, meaning 51 Senate votes (no filibuster) plus 217 House votes.
D. The House and Senate pass a series of smaller bills, each with 217 + 60/51 votes and lots of time used up in the Senate.
Option A seems highly unlikely, since 2009 was already wasted looking for Snowe’s vote and a Democrat vote was lost, so we’re into Options B+C. Pass the Senate bill (B), and “fix” it (excise tax, cough, cough) via reconciliation (C.) Some elements of Option D may also happen, for example, we’re supposed to see a House vote on repealing the health insurance industry’s anti-trust exemption.
ps. Thinking of 218? Some House seats are vacant.