Monday, August 3, 2009

Mike Enzi: Blocking Health Care Reform From The Inside

Glenn Thrush tells us that Republican Mike Enzi of Senate Finance is refusing to accept a September 15 deadline for getting health care reform out of committee.

At this point you have to give him credit for a clever approach to blocking the bill. If he had just come out with forceful opposition from the beginning, nobody would've included him in negotiations. Instead, he's part of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" on Finance that's writing (or actually, not writing) legislation while Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer sit on the sidelines. Max Baucus was initially thinking that his committee would produce legislation first. Now as we go into the August recess, every other committee has reported a bill while Grassley and Enzi stall Finance. As Jonathan Cohn reports, the Senate GOP doesn't want a bill at all and will be very upset if these guys do anything but get in the way. Publius' satire is right on.

When the rest of the Senate Democrats finally pressure Baucus to end the bipartisan clown show and get a bill through committee, Grassley and Enzi will be well-positioned to raise a big stink about how nasty and partisan Democrats are. It's a trick they couldn't have tried if they just came out with their opposition to health care reform from the beginning.


Dara said...

Re the Publius satire: has anyone done a parody a la the contract negotiation scene in "A Night at the Opera"?

Neil Sinhababu said...

I think that might require more awesome Senators than we actually have.

ikl said...

If this is true, I'd say it is more a matter of Baucus being dumb than Enzi being particularly smart. Enzi isn't exactly Olympia Snowe. He isn't even a Chuck Grassley. I have no idea why any Dem would think that Enzi is someone who needs to buy into the health care bill. He is a very conservative Senator who represents a deep red state who has little history of bipartisan deal making. So this is really beginning to irritate me. I think that one has to wonder at this point whether Baucus is really operating in good faith.

Neil Sinhababu said...


Petey said...

Slightly tangential to the topic, but this NYT article may help convince doubters that Max Baucus is working as an agent of the WH on this.


Mr. Tauzin said the administration had approached him to negotiate. “They wanted a big player to come in and set the bar for everybody else,” he said. He said the White House had directed him to negotiate with Senator Max Baucus, the business-friendly Montana Democrat who leads the Senate Finance Committee.


Mike Enzi is not being smart here. He's just in the right place at the right time.

The WH (stupidly) wants GOP support for the bill, and Chuck Grassley has made it clear he won't be the only GOP Senator not from Maine to support the bill.

So, it's the WH which is not going to sign off on a bill which doesn't have the support of Mike Enzi.

Primary campaigns have consequences. Blame the stupidness of the Democratic primary electorate, not the smartness of Mike Enzi.

Petey said...

And since you obviously shouldn't take Billy Tauzin's word on this, from the same NYT article:


A deputy White House chief of staff, Jim Messina, confirmed Mr. Tauzin’s account of the deal in an e-mail message on Wednesday night.


If I were a progressive Dem in the Senate or House, I'd be leaning toward voting against the bill that seems as if it is going to emerge.

Let's see if Lynn Woolsey has the courage of her convictions here.