It’s not over until it’s over, and Democrats are now trying to get the House-passed reconciliation bill through the Senate without having to send it back to the House for a second vote. That means no amendments. None.
We had a press call this afternoon with Senator Harkin who said the following:
“This week, we accomplished what Presidents and Congresses have tried and failed to do since the Teddy Roosevelt administration: we defeated the insurance companies and the other special interests and we made history by passing comprehensive health care reform. But now we have to continue to educate the American people about all the good things in the new law and pass a measure that makes a good bill even better. It’s time for our message to be clear: a vote for any amendment is a vote against health reform and against reform of the student lending program. It’s time to hang tough and not give Congressional Republicans an opportunity to kill this bill.”
180 groups agree with us and Senator Harkin, and they signed a letter saying so. Richard explains:
“What these 180 organizations representing a wide variety of constituencies are saying is this a good bill and a good first step. There will be improvements over time. Some will be debated this year, and some will come up five and even ten years from now. But this is a solid foundation, and once the reconciliation bill that passed the House passes the Senate, we can start showing the American people what it looks like when the public goes up against big insurance and corporate lobbyists and special interests and wins.”
UPDATE: Via TPM, here’s a collection of some of the ridiculous amendments the Republicans are introducing. The idea is to get Democrats on the record as voting against things like repealing “the government takeover of health care” (there isn’t one) or helping “the President keep his promise that Americans who like the health care coverage they have now can keep it” (not a risk) . Then come election season, Republicans make ads taking the Democrats’ votes out of context. Classy.