Dems Go It Alone

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I asked a lot of members over the weekend: why pass the bill now? After the August protests there had been much speculation that the House would wait for the Senate to act. Some members said that Speaker Pelosi didn’t want them going home for another recess to face more Tea Party madness (the House, having adjourned very early Sunday morning is now in recess until next week for Veterans Day). But, as Rep. Chris Van Hollen, head of the DCCC, told me they weren’t really worried about the protests any more. “They had one here on Thursday and again today and did that sway anybody?” he noted wryly Saturday night. So why push through a bill now, the week after twin gubernatorial losses in New Jersey and Virigina and a day after the country hit 10% unemployment? Most members said, the leadership felt the time for debate had come to an end — after all Pelosi had originally wanted to pass the bill before August recess but deferred in deference to anxious freshmen. They worried if the process wasn’t jump started, the Senate might falter and fail. But, having forced her vulnerables to take a hard vote on climate change, was it rash of Pelosi to rush a vote on health care — espeically if the Senate ends up not including a public plan in their bill (though as it stands right now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it will be in)? Many vulnerable Dems headed home this weekend feeling a bit battered and fearing what it means to go it alone, as Dems clearly are these days.