Thursday, August 20, 2009

Split the bill strategy

WSJ has article on the newest possibility, of splitting the reform bills into pieces and getting some of the least controversial portions passed first, and then moving to other portions later.

Seems a good tactic politically for the Ds, as it would allow the President to get a bill, and let a public option go down to a filibuster in the Senate. Meaning, not just a threat of a filibuster, but an actual 'get the cots in the back of the room and order 800 pizzas and read from the phonebook' filibuster. The Rs won't look good doing this. For every person thinking they are defending their interests, there will be 2 thinking they look like fools.

Depending on how the bills are packaged, it could be reasonable from a policy perspective, but the toughest choices (like something to deal with cost inflation in Medicare that is not just a provider reimbursement cut) are the most likely things to be dropped the smaller any bill gets. But, President Obama has to do something to gain control of the debate, and the let Congress lead the way approach hasn't worked out so well. In fairness to the Ds in the Senate, the Rs are 'negotiating' sort of like Lucy negotiates with Charlie Brown to hold the football to let him kick it--always pulling it away at the last minute, and declaring the newest D concession to still be socialized medicine and the first step to ending society as we know it.

Should be an interesting fall. And a good one for pizza delivery restaurants around Washington.


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