Washington Post's health care guru, Ezra Klein:
The Democrats are not taking reconciliation off the table, they are not paring back the bill, and they are not extricating themselves from the issue. They think they're right on this one, and they're going to try and pass this legislation.NY Times columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman:
Today was a boost for that effort. The Democrats got hours to make their case, at an event they planned, with one of their own controlling the discussion. For that reason, I imagine that this will be the last bipartisan summit we see for awhile. The format is simply too kind to the president, and he takes advantage of it ruthlessly. When the camera panned, you could almost see Republicans wondering why they'd accepted the invitation.
If we’re lucky, Thursday’s summit will turn out to have been the last act in the great health reform debate, the prologue to passage of an imperfect but nonetheless history-making bill. If so, the debate will have ended as it began: with Democrats offering moderate plans that draw heavily on past Republican ideas, and Republicans responding with slander and misdirection.Greg Sargent:
Obama, in his closing remarks, is delicately saying that Dems will move forward without Republicans. He says he doesn’t know whether the gap between Dems and Republicans can be bridged; and adds that “baby steps,” i.e., GOP incrementalism, simply won’t do.After a year of debate in which the Democrats in the Senate (particularly Max Baucus and Harry Reid) proved they are not worthy of their big majority, it's time to put this thing to bed. It is vital that the House of Representatives pass the Senate bill within the next week or so. It's already passed the Senate, so the threat of filibuster is no longer there. Once the House passes it, it goes to the President for signature, becomes the law of the land, and then both houses of congress can go back and fix portions of the bill that are lackluster or questionable - and they can do so via the reconciliation process, which forbids filibusters.
The message is subtle, but unmistakable: Dems will move forward alone.
If House liberals refuse to pass the Senate bill in hopes of something more progressive and the Senate bill goes down to defeat, then health care is dead for another generation. Our country and her citizens can't afford that.
If House liberals let this opportunity slip by, if Speaker Pelosi doesn't shove this down her caucus' throat, I will hold each and every one of them responsible. And I will cast my ballot against Pelosi in this November's election here in San Francisco.