As I watch the Democrats in Congress lose their collective marbles, it’s nice to see one keep his head. It’s especially nice that it’s one of the oldest and longest-serving members in the House of Representatives, John Dingell:
What are the Democrats’ options going forward?
First, pass the Senate bill. Second, pass the Senate bill and address the deficiencies in a package under reconciliation. Third, address the whole business under reconciliation, with some problems. It’s also possible to break off some of the things we’ve done before and do them. You’ve got the Patient’s Bill of Rights, children’s health, government negotiation of drug pricing. There are loads of things you can do.
The first two options seem easiest. But there’s been real despair on the Democratic side about passing the Senate bill, even with the prospect of modifications. But no one who understands this stuff thinks the difference between the bare Senate bill and the likely compromise measure is bigger than the difference between the Senate bill and the miserable status quo.
I don’t think you’re hearing despair. I think you’re hearing anger. People feel the matter has been badly handled and that a year’s work has been dissipated by the change in the Senate. I’m not satisfied that that is the proper response to this. But I think that when those people have presented to them by the leadership a clear statement of what course will be taken, those people will jump aboard. The fact of the matter is we don’t have time to be angry.
What about those who say we should just wait, that there’s no rush? You’ve been around this issue for a long time. What generally happens when these efforts burn out?
I’m sure the same people will be saying the same thing next year or the year after when we have the same damn problems. I don’t think we’ve been hurt so badly we can’t move forward. We ought to take this bill to conference and stand the Republicans up in the baleful light and oppose this legislation before the public. They’ve been whining that its not been open enough. Let the people see it.
Man’s speaking a lot of sense. I hope he’s right.