House Dems To Release Detailed Health Care Bill Today
The Hill: Pelosi said a more detailed House bill will now be made public on Tuesday, but added it will still need to be changed to win over skeptical voters in her own caucus. Committee action on the bill could kick off before week’s end, which would set up a vote by July 31 as promised. Pelosi described the bill to be unveiled Tuesday as just another draft. ‘It won’t be the finished product,’ Pelosi said. ‘In order for us to be on schedule, we have to roll out legislation this week.’”
Politico reports on presidential meeting with congressional leaders: “During the meeting, Rangel promised to mark up the bill this week, and Baucus told the assembled lawmakers and the president that he would mark it up next week — something that Rangel thinks will help him reassure House Democrats that the Senate will act. The Ways and Means Committee chairman also said the president didn’t give him an explicit signal to abandon an idea to impose a surtax on the wealthy.”
Change.org’s Tim Foley defends progressive tax on the wealthiest: “There’s no question the richest 2-3% benefited well under a tax cut system that we simply couldn’t pay for and has been rendered unsustainable. They’re traditionally more likely to take advantage of deductions and giveaways in our tax code, making fewer of them likely to pay the full percentage. It’s a demographic that has benefited disproportionately to the billions of dollars spent bailing out the economy. And, not to put too fine a point on it, they’re paying for the uninsured and the high costs of preventable chronic diseases already in taxes and premiums – they’re just not getting value. It’s easy to demagogue in patently false ways. Republicans will say it will hurt most small business owners. It won’t. They’ll say it’s socialism. It’s not. It’s the same progressive tax structure used by Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Looks like the first choice was the best one we’ve seen so far.”
LA TImes explains WH logic in leaving details to Congress: “The president’s decision not to spell out what he wants can be frustrating for rank-and-file members of Congress, said Chris Jennings, a senior healthcare advisor in the Clinton administration who also worked on Capitol Hill for 10 years. ‘There is always pressure to get more involved.’ But Jennings and other veterans of past healthcare battles said choosing sides too early can be risky. ‘The president can only be used so many times,’ said Harold M. Ickes, who was a senior aide to Clinton. ‘And they [the White House] have to be careful so that when he really lays down the law, or tries to break a deadlock on any particular issue, that it’s done at the right time. Otherwise, he runs the risk of looking impotent.’”
The Treatment’s Elise Foley on why Surgeon General Regina Benjamin beats Sanjay Gupta: “Benjamin has something he doesn’t: a record of working with the poor and uninsured. Not coincidentally, these are among the people whom Obama’s health care reform plans will help the most … no coincidence that Obama spent the first half of his press conference reaffirming his commitment to passing health care reform legislation, then moved on to discussing an appointee who worked with the same types of people his plans are meant to protect.”
OurFuture.org’s Bill Scher: USA Today Can’t Read Its Own Health Care Poll.
Conservative strategy: delay. Politico: “In a memo to Republicans, GOP consultant Alex Castellanos said that time is on his party’s side. ‘If we slow this sausage-making process down,’ Castellanos said, ‘we can defeat it…’.”
Ezra Klein notes the powerful grassroots mobilization on the Left: “Talk to veterans of the 1994 effort and they will invariably lament the total absence of a liberal ground game. The grassroots energy came primarily from conservative groups and trade organizations. The National Federation of Independent Business was, for instance, very effective at influencing legislators. So too was the Chamber of Commerce. There was no analogue on the left. … All-purpose progressive organizations like MoveOn.org and Campaign for America’s Future were largely non-existent … This year, the legislators flipping their positions under activist pressure are centrist Democrats who have been targeted by HCAN and its allies. The news stories about rallies and letter-writing campaigns and grassroots efforts tend to feature liberals organizing in support of the public option…”
Kennedy and Dodd seek to defuse abortion concens. CQ: “After the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee rejected several Republican measures at its Monday markup, the panel adopted by voice vote an abortion-related amendment offered by Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., on behalf of ailing Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. Under the amendment, health care providers could not be excluded from contracting with a health insurance plan on the basis that the provider performs abortions — or refuses to perform abortions except in an emergency — if ‘performing abortions is contrary to the religious or moral beliefs of the provider or entity.’ Dodd said the language was intended to address GOP worries that doctors and nurses who object to abortion would be forced into providing them under the health care overhaul.”
Big Pharma wins one in Senate cmte. AP: “Senators agreed Monday to give high-tech biologic drugs 12 years of market protection before generic versions can compete. The vote in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was a victory for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries but a defeat for the Obama administration and AARP. The Obama administration had pushed for a seven-year exclusivity period so that patients could get quicker access to cheaper versions of costly medicine … The powerful senior citizens’ lobby AARP expressed disappointment, suggesting it might oppose the underlying bill over the issue.”
Palin Becomes Face of Climate Bill Opposition
Sarah Palin W. Post oped railing against climate bill eviscerated by Grist’s Russ Walker: “Palin’s thesis comes loaded with plenty of rhetoric and zero facts. It offers nothing more than assertions about the emissions reduction part of the bill, ignores the energy investment and green jobs provisions [and] fails to even take note of the underlying issue—catastrophic climate change.”
And by The Atlantic’s Conor Clarke: “Palin writes: ‘Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.’ A quick note about the psychology of large numbers: $4.2 billion over eight years is $525 million a year. (That yearly cost is just above the total cost of, I dunno, building a road that connects Juneau with the rest of Alaska.)”
GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander takes himself out of the compromise game. Grist’s Kate Sheppard: “Just a few days ago, Alexander seemed willing to work with Dems on a bill if it included major support for nuclear power. But at a press conference on Monday, he argued that the approach used in the recently passed House climate bill ‘needs to be junked,’ and said he wouldn’t support passage of a similar plan in the Senate even if it included incentives for more nuclear power. ‘It’s unfixable,’ said Alexander.”
Alexander’s own nuclear plan? He doesn’t have one. Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson: “Today, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Republican Conference, called on President Obama to figure out how to make Alexander’s pipe dream of ’100 new nuclear power plants in 20 years’ actually work, because he hasn’t been able to figure it out. Alexander’s ‘blueprint’ is part of what had been billed as ‘new climate change legislation’ from the GOP … As it turns out, Alexander’s ‘plan’ for how the United States would double the number of nuclear power plants in twenty years was really just to ask President Obama to make it so…”
Coal Tattoo swats W. Va biz leaders pretending House bill would criminalize coal: “[Business & Industry Council chair Jan] , Vineyard describes the bill as ‘using a complicated “cap-and-trade system”‘ that she says: “Virtually criminalizes the burning of coal and the carbon emissions that go with it.” Criminalizes? Come now. Yes, the bill actually does contain some criminal penalties for fraud related to the trading market for carbon dioxide emissions … I would think Vineyard would like those provisions, given that she’s concerned that the CO2 trading market is ‘tailor-made for manipulation’. …. But the bill hardly criminalizes the burning of coal or emissions of greenhouse gases. It does regulate these emissions. But the United Mine Workers of America has said: ‘As it stands now, the amount of money dedicated to coal in this bill is remarkable, and the future of coal will be intact.’”
NYT finds China engaging in *gasp* protectionism! “Calling renewable energy a strategic industry, China is trying hard to make sure that its companies dominate globally. Just as Japan and South Korea made it hard for Detroit automakers to compete in those countries — giving their own automakers time to amass economies of scale in sheltered domestic markets — China is shielding its clean energy sector while it grows to a point where it can take on the world.
Obama in Michigan today to “propose $12 billion in new federal spending for community colleges that the administration says will help prepare U.S. workers for 21st- century jobs.”
Obama reaffirms support for EFCA to union leaders but pledges no timetable for passage.
Obama restates veto threat on building more F-22s, reports W. Post.
Dem Rep. Jim Oberstar reminds The Hill that the weak part of the stimulus bill is the tax cuts, not the public investment.
Derivative brokers form lobbying group to fight new regulations, reports The Hill: “The five companies are forming the Wholesale Market Brokers’ Association Americas Inc. to press its case as lawmakers debate legislation to regulate the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market.”
Terrance Heath contributed to the making of this Breakfast