Reid Loses Patience on Health Bill – Roll Call (7/7/09):
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday strongly urged Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to drop a proposal to tax health benefits and stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill.
Reid, whose leadership is considered crucial if President Barack Obama is to deliver on his promise of enacting health care reform this year, offered the directive to Baucus through an intermediary after consulting with Senate Democratic leaders during Tuesday morning’s regularly scheduled leadership meeting. Baucus met with Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday afternoon to relay the information.
According to Democratic sources, Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes; Reid told Baucus that several in the Conference had serious concerns and that it wasn’t worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans.
Just for the record, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of taxing health benefits. This seems like damage control, too convenient after Obama and Rahm Emanuel‘s appeasement cop/idiot cop routine. But it’s at least a signal that Reid knows that it takes 51 votes, not 60 to pass legislation through the Senate. Now if someone would just explain this to the compromiser-in-chief.