Youtube user ctrimarchi has just posted a fragment of John Adler townhall which is labeled as being from March 13 in Toms River. He is facing a crowd that sounds hostile to health care reform.
An audience member asks him about the Senate health care reform bill, correctly pointing out that if the bill is approved by the House it can be signed by the President and become law. There’s no need for reconcilation or any other votes. So, he asks, will you vote for the Senate Bill?
Adler’s answer sounds like a no and gets cheers, but I actually think it was evasive. (It may be that he said more, but the video “conveniently” cuts off and indeed may be deliberately misleading if he said more.) He says he would not vote for the Senate bill “if that were the final bill.” But of course it is not the final bill, the point of having a second bill pushed through reconcilation is that some provisions will be changed. So Adler implicitly left open the chance of voting for the Senate bill, because he knows it will be changed in reconciliation. Needless to say, such positive votes would be welcomed at Blue Jersey and by most of the people who voted for Adler and Obama, and are opposed largely by people who will not vote for Adler anyway. I’ve expressed my skepticism that Adler will vote the right way but he has not closed the door. In his recent interviews he has insisted on seeing the actual reconcilation bill before deciding on his vote. We expect to see this bill this weekend, or Monday at the latest. The right wing is spreading some absurd propaganda that the bill will be passed without a vote, and I suppose if you think Saddam had nuclear weapons and W. was a good President you might be dumb enough to believe it.
Politico has posted a memo from Chris Van Hollen which went to Adler’s district director amongst others laying out the timelime this week and giving some advice.:
I continue to encourage all of you not to get into debates about process and to try and persuade your Member not to get into process arguments either. At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL. People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.
The rest of the memo is below the fold
The memo as leaked to Politico:
Hi all –
Attached and below are some good resources to get through the health care push next week.
Here is my best guess on timeline but as always this is Congress so it could all change very quickly:
TODAY or MONDAY: CBO will publish final scores on legislative language
THEN: House Budget Committee must approve using the reconciliation process to pass this
THEN: The bill will go to the Rules Committee, rule will be constructed for consideration on the floor, and language will be posted online (on the Rules website) and the 72-hour clock will start. When this happens, we will start to have a better idea on what the process will be.
THEN: A Manager’s Amendment will be constructed that will make some final changes
THEN: The Manager’s Amendment will be posted online and the 72-hour clock will start (this may overlap with the 72-hour clock on the reconciliation language). When Manager’s Amendment is done final process decisions will be locked in.
THIS MEANS: We will likely vote Friday or Saturday. (As you probably saw, POTUS pushed back the departure for his Asian trip from Thursday the 18th to Sunday the 21st; this was not a coincidence.) The Speaker has publically committed to trying to get a vote on both the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill on the same day. They are still trying to work out the final process on this and much of what we do depends on what the Senate Parliamentarian decides. You may be receiving calls about the “Slaughter Rule” and other rumors about what the process will be. Again, please understand: no decision has yet been made on the process for consideration on the House floor.
1. I would have your Member’s schedule pretty clear for next weekend. They will either be here or exhausted (or both).
2. I continue to encourage all of you not to get into debates about process and to try and persuade your Member not to get into process arguments either. At this point, we have to just rip the band-aid off and have a vote — up or down; yes or no? Things like reconciliation and what the rules committee does is INSIDE BASEBALL. People who try and start arguments about process on this are almost always against the actual policy substance too, often times for purely political reasons.
3. Finally, I encourage you to study the final attached slide (#14) and give some thought to what your plan is post-vote, especially during Easter Work Period. If your Member is a yes, or might be a yes, I would lay the groundwork for some events to highlight the reforms that will quickly become law – no more donut hole, dependent children covered until 26, insurance access for those with pre-existing conditions, etc.