The Corner

Senate Democrats: SOTU Changed Nothing in Health-Care Debate

Senate Democrats are saying that health-care reform has reached a “stalemate” and is “on life support,” and that the president’s speech did nothing to change that.

It is a bad sign when Senate Democrats have to resort to the press to plead for more leadership from the president on his signature domestic policy initiative. From Politico:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said health care reform “is on life support, unfortunately,” and the president should have been more specific with how Democrats should move forward.

“He should have been more clear, and I am hoping that in the next week or two he will because that is what it is going to take if it is at all possible to get it done,” Landrieu told reporters. “Mailing in general suggestions, sending them over the transom, is not necessarily going to work.”

The president’s criticism of the Senate in the speech was “a little strange, a little odd,” Landrieu said. 

“Moderate Senate Democrats, who give the Senate the 60 votes, come from states that have to appreciate a broad range of ideas,” Landrieu said. For a president who ran on post-partisan platform, ”it doesn’t do a great service to then say everything the House caucus passes without Republican votes, the Senate should take. It is the reverse.”

“He and his administration, his staff could step up a little bit of strengthening, tailoring their help to move this through Congress,” she said.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said it was “a real possibility that health care is at a stalemate and you can’t solve it this year.”

“It is hard to see how last night fundamentally changes it,” Pryor said.

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