The president’s closest friend in the Senate took a bullet for him today.
Hours before the president’s press conference, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin acknowledged what had become clear across Capitol Hill, telling “The Hill” that it just wasn’t “possible” for the Senate to meet President Obama’s August deadline for passing health care through the House and Senate.
Speaker Pelosi is trying to keep the pressure on. She insists the votes are there to pass health care in the House. But that’s questionable. And her caucus won’t want to vote unless the Senate Finance Committee, at minimum, reaches a deal early next week. Even then, the Speaker will
be under tremendous pressure to put the vote off until September too.
LBJ, Reagan, Clinton and Bush 43 all racked up their signature legislative accomplishments before their first August vacation. Missing this “make or break” August deadline doesn’t kill health care. The odds that President Obama will sign a version into law before the end of this year are still better than even. But it will take a few breaks.
Top of the list? Congress doesn’t return to a ten percent national unemployment rate after Labor Day.