Bending the Cost Curve

How one Congressional Budget Office score salvaged Max Baucus’ day and possibly his bill.

When Senate Finance Chairman Mac Baucus finally revealed his long anticipated bill, his Democratic colleagues treated the proposal like the open salvo in barter exchange and Baucus like a used Turkish rug merchant they were sure was out to …

Saving Elmendorf a Beating

Senator Kent Conrad today made an unusual request of the Congressional Budget Office: a 20-year cost estimate on the latest draft of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ bill reforming the nation’s health care system. “We’ve got to have somebody look at this objectively and try to tell us: do we bend the cost curve the …

The Afghanistan Paradox

This war has come to be inexorably linked to this President. He likes to say that he’s “taking the fight” to the terrorists because it’s “fundamental to the defense of our people.” His strong supporters include Karl Rove, John McCain and Sarah Palin. In Congress, Democratic leaders grate at the idea of granting him more …

Teddy’s Letter

After the jump, the text of Teddy Kennedy’s letter that President Obama cited in the speech. Also, Obama will host a group of bipartisan Senate centrists tomorrow — including, Michael Scherer reports from the Hill, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson — at the White House to talk about health care.

Obama’s Remarks

Read along after the jump. Members named: John Dingell, John McCain, Ted Kennedy, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley.

Grassley: The One Who Got Away

If there had ever been any hope for real GOP support for President Obama’s health care plan, it came in the form of Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who has been negotiating behind the scenes for months with his good friend Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. But was getting Grassley on board ever a realistic proposition? And what does …

Vicki Kennedy Won’t Run

Despite her husband’s former colleagues’ obvious admiration for her grace under fire this past week (former Senator John Breaux — a friend of Kennedy’s and of the Reggie’s who hail from the same hometown — went so far as to tell me that, “She knows the players very well and that goes a very long way with helping you be successful in …

The Unelected Senate

The Senate has never been a particularly democratic institution. It wasn’t designed to be one. Small states have as big a voice there as big ones do. But now we have another phenomenon: A growing number of Senators who got there by virtue of having won the vote of only one person.

At this point, there are four states–New York,

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