Rahm Emanuel pretty much declared Obamacare dead last week when he said Congress would first deal with jobs, the deficit, and financial regulation before coming back to health care. Yet liberal bloggers are keeping hope alive. A few new stories might persuade them to reconsider.
First, Politico reports that April is the new deadline to use reconciliation to pass Obamacare:
The reconciliation instructions expire when Congress passes the next budget resolution, which usually happens in April, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad confirmed Tuesday. That means health care reform has another firm deadline if Congress decides to move ahead with reconciliation, which still appears to be Democrats’ preferred method.
Second, The Hill reports that Republicans are prepared to offer an "indefinite number of amendments" to keep Democrats from using reconciliation to pass Obamacare:
Though it has never been done, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he’s prepared to test the Senate’s stamina to block the Democrats from using the process to expedite changes to the healthcare bill.
Experts on Senate procedural rules, from both parties, note that such a filibuster is possible. While reconciliation rules limit debate to 20 hours, senators lack similiarconstraints on amendments and could conceivably continue offering them until 60 members agree to cut the process off.
Any one want to bet DeMint couldn't run out the clock?
Third, see the Alphonse and Gaston routine from Pelosi and Reid. Greg Sargent reports that Pelosi believes that the Senate "must pass a reconciliation fix to its bill before the House passes it." Reid replies: "We can't go first."
But the dream shall never die.