Day: February 13, 2010

Democrats’ New Strategy: Force Votes That Will Show Republican Support Or Intransigence

The Obama Administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress are adopting a strategy to force the opposition Republicans to make a decision: support legislation on various matters, or be recorded as against the legislation and make it a case against the party in the upcoming Fall elections.

While there is hope that bipartisanship will occur, particularly at the scheduled White House summit on health care on February 25, the plan is to promote legislation on some aspects of health care, a job creation bill, legislation to lift the anti trust exemption for insurance companies, action to help small businesses and extend unemployment compensation, and a measure to levy fees on Wall Street banks that received bailout money.

There are hints that some GOP senators might join the Democrats on some legislation, including Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

At the same time, the Democrats in the House of Representatives face the fact that there are now two vacancies of members who supported the health care bill, when it passed 220-215 last fall. Robert Wexler left in January and John Murtha died last week, and neither seat will be filled until the spring. And Joseph Cao, the one Republican who voted for the health care bill, now indicates he will not support the bill on later passage if it comes up for a vote, so the House probably does not have a majority for the bill at this point.

So the Democrats are trying to figure out a strategy to gain action in both houses, but the road ahead is still very complex and difficult. It is hard to see any great prospect for action anytime soon! 🙁