Rumors are that the White House is gearing up to encourage the House to pass the Senate bill fast, in the event that Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts Senate race and we don't have 60 Democrats in the Senate anymore to modify the House bill in the direction of the Senate bill.
One possible scenario is that the election ends up really close and the outcome is tied up in litigation for a while. It's a reverse of the Norm Coleman scenario that was going for much of 2009, where the national GOP kept their lawsuits running so Al Franken wouldn't go to the Senate and vote on things like the stimulus bill until July. I don't know how MA election law works, but I imagine that this could keep Paul Kirk in the Senate long enough to do health care at an appropriate pace, and if things are super tight, perhaps get to climate change. Of course, with this sort of thing it's hard to be clear about how much time we have.
I reserve the right to complain about this more in a subsequent post, but the political importance of this race is part of the reason why Max Baucus deserves our scorn for his role as Captain Ineffective, delaying the bill several months so that weird circumstances like these could result in trouble.
The Dems should just go nuclear and restore majority rule in the Senate. What would the GOP do? Campaign against them on a platform of, "Put us in charge and we'll make sure 41 Democrats can stop us from doing anything once again"?
Right you are on Baucus. Mysteriously, Matt Yglesias picked today to apologize! for previously criticizing Baucus.
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