Blue Dogs sell out, no details released
UPDATE: 2:08 pm CST–Blue Dog holdouts named
Today, leader of the Blue Dog Coalition in the US House Representative Mike Ross (D-AR) announced a deal has been reached between his supposedly fiscal conservative comrades and the left-wing leadership of the party of Pelosi and Obama. Virtually no details of the deal were released, although Ross stated one condition calls for a floor vote on the final bill no earlier than September, after the August recess. Today’s deal will likely result in the compromise bill moving out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by week’s end.
Ross said of the agreement, “It cuts the cost of the bill significantly by over $100 billion. It protects small businesses and it saves our rural hospitals and ensures that if there is a public option, it will be just that. It will be an option providing consumers more choices. It will not be mandated on anyone. And it now will clearly be on a level playing field.” But again, we have no details.
The announcement will very likely give the President a boost as continues to plug for passage of Obamacare in Raleigh, NC and Bristol, VA town hall meetings today. The Blue Dog standoff with Pelosi and Obama has taken a toll on the President’s popularity this month as details came to light from the previously released House version of the bill. Rasmussen’s Presidential Approval Index hasn’t returned to positive territory since it first went negative at the end of June. Recent days have seen his overall approval ratings stuck below 50%. The lack of details from Ross and his Blue Dog comrades will give the President the freedom to claim success at his town hall without addressing what concessions were required.
Ross and other leaders of the Blue Dogs met Obama at the White House on July 21 where the President pushed them to stand with him, Pelosi, and the rest of the left-wing of the party in supporting the government-run health care system estimated to cost between $1-1.5 trillion over the next ten years. That very day, Congressman Ross’ office posted news releases on his website announcing almost $81 million of pork for his home state. Coincidence? Possibly, but I doubt it.
The timing of his announcing such a huge amount of pork naturally lends one to wonder if he hadn’t reached a deal with the Obama-Pelosi syndicate back on the 21st. If so, his apparent resistance to sign on could have been nothing more than a ruse to bolster his (not-so) conservative credentials with his constituents leading up to next year’s re-election campaign. Ross’ communications director hasn’t responded to messages left requesting a statement for this article.
Of the seven Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee, four are said to have flipped to the Pelosi-Obama side. The three who continue to stand strong against government-run health care are Representatives Charlie Melancon (D-LA), John Barrow (D-GA), and Jim Matheson (D-UT).
Updates to follow as information comes available.