Harry Reid might be the leader of a House of Congress from Nevada but it is Nancy Pelosi who has turned into quite a gamble–a gamble which if she loses will probably turn the Democratic Party back into a minority party. On Friday the Senate passed a six month Medicare “doc fix” but regrettably could not also pass jobs legislation. Now Nancy Pelosi is threatening that the House will not pass the Senate bill until they also pass jobs legislation.
If her gamble works and the Senate passes the original House bill as opposed to the more limited Senate bill then Nancy Pelosi will come off as a legislative genius. However this is a very high stakes gamble. If she fails then it will be the Democrats who will receive much of the blame for the failure of passage of the Medicare fix.
Failure to pass the Medicare fix will lead to serious limitations on medical care for the elderly and disabled individuals now on Medicare. In addition, Tricare pays based upon the Medicare fee schedule so this will also adversely affect U.S. military personnel and their families.
Conservatives already are beginning to realize that Nancy Pelosi might have handed them a tremendous gift. Ed Morrissey writes:
In other words, Pelosi has handed the Senate Republicans the key to a filibuster not just in the Senate but also in the House, all to demand a massive expansion of the deficit on two separate fronts. The GOP couldn’t have possibly asked for a better political position even if they had begged Pelosi not to throw them into that briar patch. And if the “doctor fix” fails to get out of the House, it won’t be Republicans who get the blame, since Pelosi can call a vote on that any time she desires.
Let’s hope that Republicans manage to keep this advantage for as long as it takes Pelosi to realize that she’s blown it.
Morrissey is incorrect on an earlier point claiming, “the passage of the ObamaCare legislation whose financials were specifically predicated on keeping the Medicare reimbursement cuts in place.” A permanent fix was originally planned to be part of health care reform but Republicans made this politically impossible by counting the paper costs of this fix as part of the health care legislation.
Regardless of countless acts by the Republicans to play politics here and block a permanent fix, Morrissey is correct that the Democrats will pay the price politically if Nancy Pelosi is the one to prevent passage of the fix which has now passed the Senate. Loss of the senior vote will be devastating to the Democrats.