All this spending and what have we got? Not much, apparently. Weren’t we promised the $787 billion stimulus would produce jobs? Where are they?
Not to worry: there is hope. The health care reform measure will make you feel better even if you don’t have a job.
That’s the Obama plan…..
From Susan Ferrechio
The Washington Examiner
When President Barack Obama huddled at the White House with Democrats over a stalled energy reform bill, his message was clear — get the bill passed by Memorial Day so Congress could move on to an even more important target: health care reform.
“He said if there is high unemployment by election time, we need to show we are dealing with health care,” said Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, who attended the meeting.
Political experts agree that Obama needs to pass health care reform before the 2010 midterm elections or face disastrous losses suffered by his Democratic predecessors in the White House, including Bill Clinton.
“It certainly isn’t going to help him to have a jobless economic recovery and no health care reform for people in desperate need of care,” said Democratic political strategist Doug Schoen.
The coming eight months could be the last opportunity for Democrats to pass a major health care bill. After that, the campaign season kicks off, and it will become increasingly difficult to move significant legislation.
And there is broad agreement that beyond this year, any effort to pass health care reform could get bogged down in the politics surrounding the next presidential election cycle.
“If it’s not done this year, it might not get done for years,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Wednesday. Obama summoned Grassley and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., two of the top Senate negotiators on health care, for a White House meeting later in the day to talk about the bill.
The House is already working at breakneck speed — negotiating for 15 hours a day — in an effort to try to pass an energy bill that includes a carbon trading program and renewable energy standard that could reshape the economy. Obama told lawmakers Tuesday to do whatever it takes to come to a consensus so they could move on to health care by Memorial Day, though whatever bill emerges from the House will face an even tougher battle in the Senate.
Chief negotiators of the health care bill being drafted in the House told The Examiner that they are on target to have the legislation ready by the August recess.
Obama made it clear health care was his priority when he persuaded congressional Democrats to include a provision in the budget that will allow Democrats to usher through a health care bill over Republican objection. Typically, Republicans in the Senate can block a bill with 40 votes, but the Obama administration pushed Democrats to include “reconciliation” language requiring just a simple majority to pass health care reform.
Grassley told reporters that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made it clear to Senate Democrats who opposed such a maneuver that this was what Obama wanted.
Schoen said Obama was smart to try to move health care quickly because if he does not, “he could suffer the same kind of reaction that Bill Clinton faced with his health care plan in 1994,” when both Democrats and Republicans rejected his proposal.