Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reader Comment – 11-02-09 Comment Squared

A named reader (what an anomaly that is) left an interesting comment yesterday on my comments about an anonymous comment upon my Sunday Blog. You can see why I called this ‘comment squared’ but cubed may have been more appropriate. In any case here is the comment from D Coleman:

“I concur with your reading of the bill. However I would point out that bill opponents are unlikely to have a real fight against this in the House. There just aren't enough sympathetic ears to have a good chance at change. So the various groups will issue protest letters voicing their concerns. When the Senate takes up this matter THEN the real lobbying is going to start. I examine the lack of party discipline and conservative tendency among 'Blue Dog' Democrats in the Senate on the health care bill and see that there's going to be a much better chance of defeating certain provisions (i.e. IST) there. Then there will have to be pressure on the reconciliation process to keep those provisions out of the final bill. I don't think the House wants to get into a big fight with the Senate over IST, so it seems that a more business friendly bill is likely in the end.”

I agree that the passage of HR 2868 in the House is almost a foregone conclusion. If the Democrats are smart they will allow the Flake Amendment to pass to show a ‘bipartisan effort to craft the bill’, but that won’t be necessary to get a passing vote in the House. I am not so sure that I agree (or disagree for that matter) with the assessment of passage in the Senate. I’m not sure this is a blue dog issue and the timing of the vote may be of importance here. If it comes just before or after the health care vote, the blue dogs may just go along to show their party loyalty. Then again they could bolt in revenge for the way the majority treated them on health care. Who knows? Then again, it may all come down to Sen. Collins (R, ME). This is a big year for the sisters from down east. She might trade IST for liability protection and terrorism insurance write downs for covered facilities, something she discussed with Rand Beers at his confirmation hearing. She really wants to see a comprehensive CFATS package passed, so she might be the deal wielding vote in the Senate if Reid can hold the blue dogs in line. So, my pessimism about seeing this bill pass this year is somewhat abated. With the Democrats having to keep Congress in town until December to get their agenda passed (and this is not part of that agenda, no matter what Chairmen Thompson and Waxman would like to believe), there is a slim chance that this bill might get through the Senate before the end of the year. The big question then is timing and seeing if they can get a conference done in a timely manner, something that has been difficult for the House to work on.

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