Report points to end of bipartisan outreach

REPORT POINTS TO END OF BIPARTISAN OUTREACH…. This week, the New York Times reported that Democratic policymakers “now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.” A Politico piece added that White House officials realize they will “probably will have to pass health reform with Democratic votes alone.”

And yesterday, Bloomberg News reported something similar.

President Barack Obama is likely in September to end Democratic efforts to work with Republicans on health-care legislation and press for a party-line vote if the stalemate on the issue in the U.S. Senate persists, a person close to the White House said.

The president and his advisers have started devising a strategy to pass a measure by relying only on the Democratic majority in each house of Congress, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It’s hard to say how seriously we should take the remarks of someone “close to the White House,” but at a minimum, it’s more evidence to suggest Democratic leaders have run out of patience.

Former Senate Majority Leader and HHS nominee Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) told Bloomberg, after meeting with President Obama, “He’s waited and waited. He has indicated, much to the chagrin of people in his party, that virtually everything’s on the table. And he’s gotten almost nothing in return for it.”

Daschle added that Obama hasn’t made a firm decision to abandon a bipartisan approach, “it’s important to put policy ahead of process. And at some point he has to make that decision.”

The sooner, the better. It’s not like opponents of reform are going to suddenly change their minds — GOP leaders have already said the party will oppose reform no matter how many concessions Democrats make, and two of the three Republican negotiators are prepared to vote against their own compromise.

What more would it take?