The Senate will be in session again today to work on health-care, with a visit from President Obama planned to shore up the effort. This is full-court press to pass an unpopular bill that will have a profoundly negative impact on our economy. But the heat is on:
White House officials, including health adviser Nancy Anne DeParle, are near constant fixtures in the Senate hallways and in meetings, working to help find a middle ground. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was even spotted in the Capitol Saturday, buttonholing members. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is regularly in negotiations or contacting members.
A group of ten Democrats, five liberal and five less liberal, are reportedly meeting behind closed doors to come up with a compromise on the public option. Senator Jay Rockefeller says that the group will keep meeting until midnight, if necessary. They’re not, by the way, looking to compromise with Republicans. They’re struggling towards the magic number of 60 votes. I quoted John Fund’s piece on the near mania the Democrats have to pass this bill. According to Fund, they believe that, if they don’t pass it, they will lose their blogging base and suffer at the polls.
Let me propose something: Pass or fail, they have already done themselves immense damage. The bill is bad, as most informed citizens already believe, and it is being passed in an unseemly manner. Pure politics, if Fund is right, are in the saddle.