Critical Condition

No Rush?

The New York Times has an article about Harry Reid’s sudden decision that “There is no rush” to pass a health-care bill.  While the Reid turnaround is interesting — it was not that long ago that he compared those who took a slow down approach with proponents of slavery — the really informative aspect of the article is the light it sheds on why he feels he needs to put on the brakes:  He does not appear to have the horses to get health care done.  According to the article, Blanche Lincoln and Evan Bayh — both of whom are up for reelection in 2010 — came out against the use of the 51-vote reconciliation technique.  Charlie Rangel is adamant that the Senate bill cannot pass in the House, saying: “We are not passing the Senate bill period.”  And the Times quotes a “Congressional aide who worked closely on the bill” — presumably a Democrat — who, when asked about a way forward on the bill, replied, “If you find it, let me know.”  Given these developments, it’s no surprise Reid is suddenly in “no rush” and saying the Senate is “not on health care now.”  As we get closer to the 2010 election and Democrats get increasingly nervous about their prospects, he is unlikely to find the path getting any easier.

Tevi Troy is a presidential historian and former White House aide. His latest book is Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.

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