Monday, October 26, 2009

The Daily Strike-10/26/09-Reid's Move

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Catch up on the week in politics by reading this morning's Weekly Strike. And leave us some comments! Your feedback is much appreciated, especially our new readers.

HEALTH CARE: For months it has seemed unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) could round up 60 votes for a health care bill with a public option. Today, Senator Reid boldly announced that he is bringing a bill to the floor with a public option, albeit one that has an opt-out provision for states that do not wish to offer the public plan. Senator Reid hasn't yet lined up 60 votes for this bill, but I think his bold move today was still very wise for a number of reasons. For one, it will energize the Democratic base, and will spur activists to make phone calls to wavering members of Congress. Two, it shows that Reid won't be cowered into doing whatever Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) wants, just because she was the one Republican who might support reform. In fact, Josh Marshall of TPM points out that though Snowe was critical of Reid's move, she did not say she is withdrawing her support of the bill! Finally, as Ezra Klein points out, it will force centrist Democrats to actively filibuster health care reform. If Reid waited around to try to corral 60 votes and came up short, centrists would never be in the awkward position of supporting a Republican filibuster of the crowning bill in the history of the Democratic party. Reid can afford to lose 9 Democratic votes on the actual bill if he can get 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster.

Reid has sent the bill to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. As soon as tomorrow, Reid will officially release the bill. It's possible that debate could begin as soon as next week. Democrats almost certainly have enough votes for the first test, which will be a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed. If Democrats get 60 votes on that procedural matter, debate on the bill can begin.

Over in the House, no news today on when we might see the unveiling of their health care bill. We should know more after the Democratic caucus meets tomorrow morning.

Once again, we're at the point in the process when floods of phone calls and emails really make a difference. Contact us in the comments section if you want to know which members you should be calling.

THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama was in Florida today to talk with naval officers and their families. The President assured the troops that he won't jeopardize their safety by rushing into a decision about what to do in Afghanistan. It's very encouraging that the President isn't giving in to ridiculous GOP demands to make a hasty decision on Afghanistan. The President also used the occasion to express condolences to the troops who died this weekend in a helicopter crash.

THE HOUSE: The House had a quiet day voting on a couple of suspension bills. Interestingly, there were two votes congratulating college sports teams for winning national championships, and on each of these votes, only Rep. Berry (D-AR) voted no. Is he trying to take a principled stand against silly House resolutions? Maybe.

That's it for tonight. We'll see you tomorrow!

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