This good news:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the House and Senate are pushing ahead on health care reform.
"I had a conversation with the speaker today, and we are moving forward," Reid said as reporters were ushered out of the leader's conference room.
is undercut by this:
With Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul stalled on Capitol Hill, Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said in an interview that Democrats would try to act first on job creation, reducing the deficit and imposing tighter regulation on banks before returning to the health measure, the president’s top priority from last year.
... Mr. Emanuel, the chief of staff, said he hoped Congressional Democrats would take up the jobs bill next week. Then, in his view, Congress would move to the president’s plan to impose a fee on banks to help offset losses to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the fund used to bail out banks and automakers.
Lawmakers would next deal with a financial regulatory overhaul, and then pick up where they left off on health care.
Ezra explains the problem.
It is very, very, very important to be clear on what the death of health-care reform looks like. It is not a vote that goes against the Democrats. It is not an admission that the White House has moved on from the subject. It is continued statements of commitment from the key players paired with a continued stretching of the timetable. Like everything else in life, policy initiatives grow old and die, even if people still love them.
The timetable Emanuel is laying out makes little sense. The jobs bill will take some time. Financial regulation will take much longer. Let's be conservative and give all this four months. Is Emanuel really suggesting that he expects Congress to return to health-care reform in the summer before the election? Forgetting whether there's political will at that point, there's no personnel: Everyone is home campaigning.
Does Rahm Emanuel actually want Democrats to win in November? Letting health insurance reform wither on the vine is the surest way to completely turn off an already frustrated base. And it gives Republicans a scalp. It gives Jim DeMint his Waterloo, and a win that big will only motivate Republicans.
More to the point, there are still 40+ million people without health insurance out here. Unless that jobs bill creates 40+ million new jobs that all include benefits, that problem isn't going away, and is no less urgent than it was a year ago.
The White House needs to get everyone on the same message. Barring that, Pelosi and Reid need to put Emanuel on mute and keep the momentum on this bill going.