Well, does the House have the 216 votes it needs, or not? Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was hedging on ‘Meet The Press,’ but that was three hours ago. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was certain they didn’t at that time. When I heard former Sen. Tom Daschle speak on reform several months ago, he made it very clear that when issues in Congress finally go for a vote, it’s almost 100% certain that the votes are there to do what the Speaker of the House wants. Otherwise, it doesn’t go for a vote.
But now we’re hearing about closed door negotiations, Executive orders, promises ‘if’ you pass this legislation. Tavis Smiley this morning on ‘MTP” had an excellent point, and here is the transcript from the show:
MR. SMILEY: “I respect Chuck’s (Todd) analysis, and I think he’s right about this, but here’s, here’s the problem–and I’m not naive when I say this and know that I’m sitting in Washington this morning–the problem with Washington is that everything is about political calculation. It’s never about doing the right thing on behalf of the American people. It’s about, “Is this going to help me? Is this going to hurt me? Does it help or hurt in my fundraising? Am I going to win or am I going to lose?” LBJ did the right thing on civil rights because it was right for the country. You cannot become a transformational president, we cannot become transformational people if everything is about media, market, and political calculation; and that’s what’s wrong with these very graphs, that nobody’s getting to the heart of the fact that Americans are dying in this debate. We’ve never talked about even health disparities. I was in Chicago yesterday. Thirty-two hundred black folk every year die in Chicago just because of health disparities. So it’s–we got to move beyond this–again, I’m not naive here, but we got to move beyond political calculation if we’re going to advance these big issues in America.
To paraphrase, his point was you keep hearing about how Congress’s votes are based on the impact to their political future. Again, for the record, I firmly believe something needs to be done about this system, but this isn’t it.
Good thing they are looking out for us, right?