Grijalva not reconciled to health care reform loss | Rep. Raúl Grijalva
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Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Grijalva not reconciled to health care reform loss

Tucson Democrat lays out plan to pass House bill in Senate

Rep. Raúl Grijalva is pushing a plan for the Senate to pass the House health care reform bill with budget reconciliation, reports The New Republic.

Reconciliation would only require 51 votes in the Senate, removing the threat of a filibuster.

GOP opponents of health care reform were heartened by the election Tuesday of Scott Brown to the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy. But Democratic supporters are maneuvering to get the measure onto the president's desk.

While other Democrats have proposed that the House pass the bill approved in the Senate, Grijalva disagrees.

"The House needs to be very careful about not merely rubber-stamping the Senate bill and sending that to the president… I just don't think it's wise policy or wise politics to merely regurgitate [it]," Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told [The New Republic's Suzy Khimm] this morning. He added that the promise to "fix" the Senate bill through separate legislation after the House passed it was unconvincing. "I don't see the side-by-side thing working both procedurally and politically."

The Tucson Democrat refutes talk that Tuesday's election was a referendum on the Obama administration's liberal agenda.

"The vote indicated a real anger against…the lack of transparency, against the fact there was no affordability, and that there was an excise tax," he said, echoing Chris Van Hollen's comments yesterday that special carve-outs like Nebraska's Medicaid deal had encouraged voters to turn against the Democratic establishment. In other words, according to Grijalva--and a number of liberal activists--ordinary Americans have soured on health reform because the Democrats haven't gone far enough in pushing for more liberal elements of the bill that could gain popular support.

TNR notes that a Research 2000 poll indicates that 82 percent of Obama voters who cast ballots for Brown support the public option. Those voters thought that health care reform "doesn't go far enough" by a 3:2 margin.

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What's your take?

Should the Democrats use reconciliation to get health care reform passed? Or should they pass the Senate bill and send it on for Obama's signature? Did the endless deal-making exasperate those who support reform the most, while providing fuel for Republican roadblocks? What would the ideal health care reform package look like? What reforms are you willing to accept and/or settle for. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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