You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Lay Off The Senate Moderates

Brian Beutler reports that House leaders are prepared to vote for the Senate health care bill if the Senate can agree to make changes via the reconciliation process. Matthew Yglesias gets mad:

Unfortunately, the always troublesome “centrist” Democratic Senators seem prepared to resume their customary role as the villains whose consistently egomaniacal and self-destructive behavior has badly damaged the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, rendered the president ineffective, and landed themselves and their copartisans in a bucket of electoral hot water. Now a whole passel of them—Landrieu, Bayh, Lincoln, Lieberman, Pryor, Begich, Nelson, McCaskill—have expressed varying levels of unease with the idea. They really need to get over it.

The Senate's general lack of urgency troubles me. But the reservations of the moderates don't. Of the names Yglesias cites, not all have ruled out voting for reconciliation -- many have only expressed skepticism, of the sort they were expressing last fall before ultimately holding together to break a filibuster. More important, even if all those Senators defected, there are only eight of them, leaving enough Democrats to pass the bill. Since the party can afford nine defections, and the moderate wing needs to show some independence, they have every reason to express their reservations or even vote no.

One point they may want to consider, though, is that one important change in the reconciliation bill will be eliminating the special Nebraska subsidy. That's become the biggest target in the bill. Democrats have good reason to go on record in favor eliminating it, and they have a very strong incentive to enact a law that cancels it out.