A group of fiscally conservative House Democrats announced Wednesday they had reached a deal with the chamber’s Democratic leaders on a bill that would revamp the nation's health care system.More at The Hill, Roll Call and Politico, which scores it a victory Democrats for committee chairman Henry Waxman. True, the compromise allows the bill to move forward, but it is in some sense a small victory for opponents of socialized medicine.
Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas, speaking for four of the Blue Dog Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Wednesday that the agreement called for the panel to begin debating the bill later in the day, but for the full House not to vote until after the August recess.
Ross and the Blue Dogs had threatened to derail the bill in the committee because of concerns that it costs too much and fails to address systemic problems in the nation's ailing health care industry. It was not immediately clear Wednesday if other Blue Dogs beyond the four represented by Ross would agree to the deal he announced.
It would have been a big victory if the Blue Dogs had told Waxman to shove the bill up his oversized nostrils. However, delay is delay, and slowing down this monstrosity buys more time to organize opposition, as the American Spectator's Philip Klein notes:
But by delaying the full House vote until September, it means that there will still be time for Blue Dogs to change their mind on the final bill if they take a lot of heat from their constituents during August recess.In trying to rush this mess through Congress in July, the Democrats were making a very cynical move. Almost nobody pays attention to politics during the summer, so if Obama could ram a bill through before the August recess, it would be a fait accompli before most Americans had a clue what it was all about.
Today in Washington, I talked to a conservative communications strategist who pointed out the Democratic strategy: Forcing opponents to fight health care and card-check and Waxman-Markey all at the same time. It's a tough fight, and the Aug. 22 Recess Rally is a chance for everyone to help.