Can Obama keep Democrats in line on healthcare to the end?
So President Barack Obama goes to Capitol Hill over the weekend and late Tuesday Senate Democrats reach a healthcare compromise on a public insurance option (Republicans oppose the legislation so every Democrat vote is needed to move it along).
Lots of day-after grumbling from both sides of the political spectrum: The Chamber of Commerce still opposes it and liberal activist group MoveOn.org said senators had “bargained away the heart of healthcare reform.”
Well, for critics it’s not likely to get any better on the public option front.
If the bill makes it to the final stages before becoming law, the Senate version would need to be melded with the House version. And a true compromise would require the Senate to take on a stronger public option and the House to weaken its hand.
One lesson from covering Capitol Hill is that nothing is a done deal until the final vote is in.
So that leaves plenty of room for lobbyists to meddle — because on the Hill the finished version of major legislation is rarely anything like what the bill looked like at the start.
As a common paraphrase of the John Godfrey Saxe quote goes — laws and sausages are two things you don’t want to see made.
Obama basically just wants Congress to enact something he can call healthcare reform, and claim victory on his signature domestic issue.
If he is able to continue keeping his Democrats in line, he may just get it.
But it is by no means a done deal, and if this were a Broadway show it would be close to intermission…
Do you want Obama to succeed in getting healthcare reform?
Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama announcing funding for community health centers), Reuters/Reinhard Krause (sausage factory).