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Apologia for the short diary, but I really think this a fairly simple concept.  One that really needs to be the way forward in my opinion, though.

The thing is, that I supported the current Health Care Reform bill primarily because I recognized that the legislation could only have been as progressive as the last voted needed to secure its passage.  I'm a pragmatist, you see.  And when Joe Lieberman is your last vote... well, you're gonna get crappy legislation.  It was reality.  I dealt with it.  But thing is, reality changed tonight.  Joe Lieberman is just the piddly little 59th vote and I longer have to care about him because the Senate already passed a bill.  

The only people that can stop some form of health care reform now are progressives in the House.  See where I'm going with this?  Over the fold please...

I'd like to make something perfectly clear before I go on:  I am not a member of the Kill Bill crowd.  Before tonight's election I was of the opinion that we needed every one of the 60 vote caucus to pass anything.  I thought that what we got out the Senate was the best we could have reasonably expected from the most undemocratic "democratic" institutions on the face of the planet.  I'm a progress progressive and I believe in taking baby steps when giant leaps aren't available.  Whatchagonnado?

But the political equation has changed tonight.  The Senate has passed a bill.  HCR is in the hands of the House and they have a few options.  They can pass the Senate bill (almost a necessity because we can't prevent a Repbulican filibuster anymore), they can try get a conference going (almost certainly doomed to failure because the Republicans will filibuster and we can't stop them anymore), they can try to abolish the filibuster (almost certainly not going to happen because Harry Reid is the Major Leader), or... they can hold the Senate bill hostage and extract a reconcilation bill with the MedicAid expansion, a national exchange available on day one, and a Public Option.  Or so I think.  I've read so many conflicting reports that I honestly have no idea anymore what is and is not allowed under reconcilation.  But that's what we have parlimentarians for.  The Progressives need to sit down with whoever that is, find that bright shining line of what is allowed, and walk right up to it.  Then pass the Senate bill.
The most powerful people in the US Congress on HCR at this moment in time is the Progressive Caucus in the House.  It's time to play hardball and get what we've wanted all along.  Once we have that, feel free to pass the Senate HCR bill.  But not one second before we get ours.  

[Edit]: Added the bold on "Then pass the Senate bill."  to clarify that I do think the Senate bill should pass.  Just not before a reconciliation bill.  Going to bed now. G'night, peace unto you, blessed be, etc etc.

Originally posted to The Rational Hatter on Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 10:29 PM PST.


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