This exclusive from the AP’s David Espo and Chuck Babington suggests the White House and the Democratic leadership are not getting any closer on legislation expanding children’s health insurance:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush told Republican lawmakers on Tuesday he will not agree to legislation expanding children’s health insurance if it includes a tobacco tax increase, a decision that virtually ensures a renewed veto struggle with the Democratic-controlled Congress.
The president also suggested he would not be willing to sign other types of tax increases that Democrats have attached to major legislation, including an energy bill, according to numerous officials who attended a closed-door meeting at the White House.
Bush’s remarks represented a hardening of the administration’s public position in a running veto showdown over Democratic-led attempts to enact legislation that provides coverage for 6 million children who now lack it. The officials who disclosed his comments did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were made in a closed-door meeting.
This means the ball lands squarely in the court of the House of Representatives. (The Senate already has a veto-proof majority in favor of the legislation.) Many Republicans are desperate for a deal that could get this issue–a political loser for them–out of the way. But they also are still frosted at the way the Democratic leadership rammed a 293-page revised bill onto the floor last week, with little notice or consultation and at a time when some of their members were back home dealing with the wildfires in California. That needlessly provocative move suggested the Democrats were more interested in scoring political points than in actually getting the bill passed. With 21 states facing the prospect of running out of money, it’s time for everyone to get serious.
UPDATE: I knew this was coming. From commenter Seanb:
“needlessly provocative”? “the Democrats were more interested in scoring political points than in actually getting the bill passed.” Get a grip, Karen. It would be nice if you held the Democrats and the Republicans to the same standard just once.
Seanb is right. This is precisely the way the Republicans ran the House. And by the end of last year, pretty much all they had to show for it was … well, nothing. This kind you-did-it-so-I-can-too is what I hear from my son all the time. But then, he’s 11 years old. Voters want actual results, and Democrats promised they would do things differently. This was a case where even some pretense at consultation could have gone a long way, and wouldn’t have left the Democrats exposed to charges of gamesmanship on an issue where they have had the moral and substantive high ground.
UPDATE2: This from Memekiller:
Just because you admit Republicans ran the Congress this way — NOW, so that you can justify telling Dems NOT to — doesn’t change the fact that you never complained about it when it might have mattered. You rewarded it with you silence, and punished those who wanted to get stuff done by portraying the victims of these tactics as weak
Perhaps you never read my coverage then. You might start with this cover story I wrote just before the 2006 election. It began:
Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left.
By the way, that cover image, designed by the brilliant Arthur Hochstein, was just awarded “2007 Best Concept Cover” by the American Society of Magazine Editors. You can see it and the other winners here. Congratulations, Arthur!