Judd Gregg’s silly threat

JUDD GREGG’S SILLY THREAT…. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) appeared on the Fox Business Network yesterday, and was asked about the health care reform bill approved by the House over the weekend. He said the Senate version would have to be significantly different … or else.

“If this bill is in any way near the form it came out of the House … we will definitely try to filibuster it,” Gregg said.

Ya don’t say. Republicans? Filibuster? Imagine that.

As threats go, this is pretty silly. The Senate minority “will definitely try to filibuster” any health care bill that comes to the floor, whether it resembles the House version or not. Indeed, they’ll filibuster any bill that comes to the floor, whether it has to do with health care or not. Judd Gregg’s threat makes it sound as if obstructionism isn’t necessarily inevitable. That’s absurd.

Meanwhile, at least one other Senate Republican is optimistic about the GOP caucus having some influence in the process going forward.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of three GOP senators to vote for the Democratic-authored economic stimulus plan earlier this year, said moderates from both parties are discussing potential areas of agreement. […]

Collins was optimistic about the GOP role, saying, “I believe we can put together a bipartisan bill that could cover so many areas where there’s agreement on what should be done.”

For crying out loud. After all we’ve seen this year, Susan Collins is still talking about the possibility of “a bipartisan bill”? This from a senator who considers a weak “trigger” measure an undue imposition on those nice insurance companies?

We’ve been through this. For the better part of the year, Dems reached out to Republicans, trying to find common ground. GOP leaders didn’t leave any ambiguities about their approach — Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said Senate Republicans will reject the reform proposal no matter how many concessions Democrats make, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the GOP caucus fundamentally rejects the very ideas and principles behind Democratic reform efforts.

There’s nothing especially wrong with that — the opposition party is supposed to oppose — but the notion of “a bipartisan bill” is about as likely as Judd Gregg voting for cloture.