TALKS WITH BLUE DOGS BACK ON?…. As of a couple of hours ago, talks between Henry Waxman and Blue Dog Democrats had not just collapsed, they were permanently finished. Mike Ross said today’s discussion “will be the last meeting we have.”
As of about an hour ago, there’s been some movement back towards the negotiating table.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) convened an emergency meeting of the Democrats on his panel Friday afternoon to try to revive the health care reform bill after his talks with conservative Blue Dog Democrats broke down.
A visibly angry Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the Blue Dog health care task force chairman, said Waxman reneged on deals the two sides had previously agreed on: a powerful independent Medicare commission proposed by President Barack Obama that would control costs, and adopting Senate language on a public insurance option that would require negotiated rates with providers rather than rates based on Medicare.
“As far as I’m concerned, I want to continue talking and see if we can bring all the Democrats together,” Waxman said en route to a meeting. “We’ll do our best.”
He added, however, that he’s still prepared to have the bill bypass his committee and head straight to the floor.
It’s unclear whether an “emergency meeting” will do any good. For that matter, since it’s late on a Friday afternoon, and the various members were under the impression that talks were finished, it’s not even clear exactly who’s still on the Hill to participate in any additional discussions.
At a minimum, I guess it’s fair to say we’re dealing with a fluid situation, which is changing all the time. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) told reporters there’s still a chance the chamber will vote on a reform bill next week, which seems hard to believe given the various developments this week, but at this point, expect the unexpected.