DEMS ‘ABSOLUTELY GIDDY’ WITH CBO SCORE…. Following up on the last item, it’s hard to overstate how pleased Democrats are with the new health care reform score from the Congressional Budget Office. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) conceded this morning, “We are absolutely giddy.”
To briefly review, the final package costs $940 billion over 10 years. It reduces the deficit by $130 billion in the first decade, and $1.2 trillion in the second. The bill will bring coverage to 32 million Americans, while extending Medicare solvency by at least 9 years.
Also note, the final Democratic proposal lowers the deficit more than the previous versions. The Senate bill was projected to reduce the deficit by $118 billion in the first decade, and this one does even better.
[T]he bottom line is that this is the exact sort of score that Democrats wanted, and is in fact considerably better than some had come to expect they would receive. Coverage is better than the Senate bill, which will reassure liberals, and deficit reduction is better than either bill, which will reassure conservatives.
All the leadership and the White House have to do now is figure out of how to get the votes. For Democrats who claim to care principally about fiscal responsibility, it’s very difficult to take a firm stand against reform after a CBO score like this one.
But I still don’t know exactly where Pelosi & Co. find the votes. Stupak and at least a few of his friends will chose betrayal, and so far, only one “no” vote from November — Dennis Kucinich — has been willing to switch sides. They have 72 hours, but they don’t yet have the votes.
The CBO’s report gives the effort a shot in the arm, but “giddiness” will have to wait until the votes materialize.