An emerging consensus among a bipartisan group of senators is poised to shift the dynamic in the congressional debate over health-care reform and could lead to a final product that sheds many of the priorities that President Obama has emphasized and that have drawn GOP attacks.
Three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are expected to wrap up their arduous multi-week talks in the coming days, and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he expects a panel vote before the Senate recess, which will begin Aug. 7. Assuming the fragile committee coalition holds, the legislation it produces would scramble the reform landscape by introducing policy ideas that have their origins in the political center. The bill is bound to disappoint liberals. But with prominent GOP backing, it also could prove more difficult for Republicans to reject out of hand -- the approach they have taken to the House bill and a second Senate version, written by the health committee.
The finance panel's legislation is expected to include incentives for employers to provide health insurance for their workers, rather than a more punitive coverage mandate. The committee is also likely to endorse narrowly targeted tax increases, rejecting a controversial tax surcharge on wealthy households that the House adopted and limits on deductions for upper-income taxpayers that Obama is seeking.
GOP negotiators rejected from the outset the kind of government-run insurance plan that Obama and most Democrats are pushing for in an attempt to inject the health-insurance market with pricing competition. Instead, the committee would create coverage cooperatives modeled after rural electricity providers.
"What we do obviously would be important to our Republican conference," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), a member of the GOP team, along with Sens. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the finance panel, and Mike Enzi (Wyo.), the senior Republican on the health committee. Snowe said the primary goal of the negotiations is a bill that can draw Republican votes.
"I think it might resonate, frankly, with our colleagues," Snowe said of the emerging compromise measure. "We want the basis for a bipartisan agreement, and I think that could be the launching pad for that resolution."
Olympia Snowe is no better than Arlen Specter. She has betrayed the cause before. Just when we are snatching victory, she wants to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just when we are beginning to see movement to kill this horrible rights grab by the government, she is trying to lead us further into fascism/statism. Do not trust this woman. She has never been trustworthy.
So, what are some of the points of their plan?
Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of the GOP leadership, said he is pleased that the finance panel's bill will not include a mandate that employers provide coverage, although the legislation is expected to require individuals to carry insurance. But Thune said he worries that the co-op idea is not that much different from the public plan that both Democratic bills include.
Of course, Snowe and her two moronic dupes tell us they are doing things and coming up with something that will be acceptable. We have heard this garbage before from the appeasers. "Peace in our time," anyone?:
GOP aides say the three negotiators have been told that they should not support a bill that much of the Republican caucus opposes, and according to the aides, the trio has assured Republican leaders that they do not want to operate as outliers. The negotiators have not made such a pledge publicly, however.
To the contrary, Grassley and Snowe have repeatedly asserted their desire to cut a deal. But Enzi, a low-key certified public accountant with a solid conservative voting record, rarely speaks in public about his role. Senior Democrats say they are most skeptical about his commitment to the finance panel's bill.
Don't trust these people. They gave us gangs of 14, stupid compromise after stupid compromise....Snowe and Grassley have betrayed conservative principles for political expediency and making friends on the left, time and again....Don't buy their assurances. They will screw us if they can....
Leave us alone, government. Snowe and Grassley appear intent on sticking their noses into your life. Tell them and this other guy from Wyoming to get the hell out.
154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
135 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm
379A RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=ContactInform...
Tell them to stand up for liberty. Tell them to stand up for free markets. Tell them their jobs depend on it.