The Washington Independent
"The death of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) is a blow to Democratic efforts
to pass the Senate version of health care reform in the House — they're
now down one vote from a swing district Democrat willing to make the
tough choice. But what might turn out to be an insurmountable problem
is the intransigence of two liberals in the House conference, Rep. Eric
Massa (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.). Both say they won't
vote for anything less than a single payer system" (Weigel, 2/9).
Politico: "Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) told reporters today that Democrats don't need to have a reform package ready in time for President Barack Obama's bipartisan meeting because the groundwork has already been laid." Dodd said, "This idea that you need a blank sheet of paper, I don't know where that comes from" (Frates and McGrane, 2/9). CongressDaily
: "House Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi's top healthcare adviser ... outlined a plan that would allow both chambers to make changes to the Senate healthcare overhaul before the overhaul becomes law." Explaining the complicated shuffle needed to move the Senate bill, her aide "said the plan is to have President Obama sign the Senate bill before signing the legislation making the changes, even though Congress will approve them in reverse to satisfy skeptical House members who refuse to pass the Senate bill before changes are made" (Edney, 2/9). The Hill
: "Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) slammed television news stories that 'obsess' over 'death panels' and minor issues in Democrats' healthcare reform efforts." Conrad said, "I think the media have done a grave disservice to the American people for chasing every rabbit of an issue that matters very little to dealing with [what] has to be done" (Alarkon, 2/9).