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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daily Democratic Wire 2-24-2010

George Wenschhof

Health Summit nears with no signs of compromise from Republicans -
Republican leaders are still saying the existing health care bills passed in the House and Senate should be scrapped and Democrats are refusing to comply with that demand.

Instead, President Obama has taken parts of both bills and included them in his health care proposal. Tomorrow, the health care summit will be televised and will last from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM ET. CSPAN and many of the cable stations will cover the event. AP has more

Some of the preparations for this summit borderline on the absurd -
Republicans insisted upon no podium for the President, questions were raised if they have to eat their lunch while on camera or if they can retire to another room during the lunch break. Read more here.

One thing to note is that the much ballyhooed budget reconciliation process be used by Democrats to pass health care reform, the process has been used 21 times since 1981 and mostly by Republicans. Including, during the President George W. Bush administration when they passed the tax cuts for the wealthy.

If this process is used, the House would first pass the Senate version of the health care bill and then piece mill amendments to it which would only require a simple 51 vote majority in the Senate.

However, before anyone believes this will be what happens, all you need to do is look back to the House health care bill vote which was only 220-215. 39 Democrats voted against the bill so going forward with budget reconciliation will not be an easy task. By the way, 51 votes in the Senate will not be easy to get for passage of the bill through this process.

Let's hope there is compromise at work tomorrow and our elected Representatives can find solutions to our current health care system and provide coverage for the 40+ million Americans without it.


New CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 67% say Republicans not doing enough to cooperate with President Obama -
hardly a startling revelation. has more here.

An even more depressing statistic is there are 290 bills which have been passed by the House that are languishing in the Senate. The Republican Party of "No" is causing zero action by Congress with their unprecedented use of the filibuster in the Senate. has more here.


Jobs bill expected to pass today -
it will now be closer to 35 billion instead of 15 billion with the addition of 20 billion for highway use funds. The economist Mark Zandi of Moody' has estimated the bill will create 250,000 jobs. AP has more here.

This is a good move in the right direction. However, 250,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the job growth that is needed to reduce the high unemployment. Money is needed to fund public service employment programs to put the unemployed back to work.


Pew study of 18-29 year olds - "Millenials" shows their support of President Obama dropped in his first year in office -
In February of 2009 73% supported Obama and by the end of 2009 the support registered at 57%. In February of 2009 the number who identified as Democrats was 60% and Republicans 40%. This had changed to 54% Democrats and 40% Republicans by the end of 2009.

Some have said the turnout and support of this age group helped elect Obama in 2008.


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