Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Daily Strike-1/13/09-Negotiating Marathon

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Countdown to the Massachusetts Senate Election is 6 days. I wish we could just get it over with.

HEALTH CARE MEETING: House and Senate Democratic leaders met for over 8, yes 8, hours today at the White House trying to hammer out a deal on a final health reform package. So far, there is no word whether a deal was reached at the meeting. There are several issues we know are under discussion. Among them are the level of subsidies, whether to make the health insurance exchange federal or state-based, and how to fund the bill. There are a lot of smaller differences between the House and Senate bills that must be hashed out as well. Apparently, the President said that no one could leave until a deal was hashed out. If he was able to pull off a deal in this meeting, he will be somewhat of a miracle worker.

Of course these negotiations are complicated by the situation in Massachusetts. The Republican candidate in the special election to replace Ted Kennedy has vowed to block health reform if he is elected next Tuesday. Democrat Martha Coakley would be the bill's key 60th vote. Democrats are negotiating under the assumption that either Coakley will win, or that Democrats can stall the swearing in of Brown long enough for health care reform to pass. We will give full details of the President's meeting when they become available.

HAITI: Obviously, everyone is pretty shocked about the horrible earthquake yesterday in Haiti. Apparently, over 100,000 people, a staggering number, are believed to have died. In the country's capital of Port-Au-Prince, every single hospital has collapsed, along with the President's palace. I can only imagine what is going on in the poorest neighborhoods. I hope you all donate some money to the victims of this tragedy.

Even the worst tragedies can't pass without some insane statements from the Right Wing. Rush Limbaugh said today that Obama will use the earthquake to boost his credibility with "light-skinned" and "dark skinned" blacks in this country. Even worse, Pat Robertson said that the Haitians had this coming because they had "made a deal with the devil." I don't want to sink to their level by talking about this more, but wow, they're nuts.

THE HOUSE: The House today passed several bills under suspension of the rules. They also voted not to override President Obama's non-veto veto of an unnecessary spending bill by a vote of 143-245. This vote is a sign of true blind partisanship. This was a bill that was a stopgap funding measure, and it was unnecessary because Congress passed their spending bills on time. The President vetoed the bill, and Congress is constitutionally obligated to vote on whether to override the veto. The vote should have been an afterthought. This was just a technicality! But 140 Republicans and 3 Democrats (Filner of CA, Carney of PA and Taylor of MS) decided to vote yes on overriding the veto just for the hell of it.

That's it for now, have a good night.

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