According to FOX News’ Chad Pergram and Megan Whittemore along with the Associated Press, 52 “Blue Dog” Democrats remain the only barriers to passing a health care reform bill. This group is known for its fiscally conservative ideology and wants to make sure the bill that is passed solves relevant issues. Most recently, the Blue Dogs have demanded that the health care reform bill include an affordable government option for small businesses as well as competitive pricing to avoid private insurers going bankrupt.
Last night, the group met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for almost 7 hours. Although a compromise has yet to be reached, the two sides remain confident. Representative Mike Ross (D-Arkansas) is content that with each meeting, progress is made.
The problem seems to be time and the deadline set by President Obama that has representatives like Jane Harman (D-California) anxious. She explains that the negotiations have been “very, very hard” and that even though both sides agree of broader areas of concern, such as lowering drug prices, they disagree on “specifics”.
As polls continue to show declining confidence in Obama’s health care plan, the Blue Dogs have gained leverage and are now able to better negotiate with the rest of Congress. If the group of 52 disagree with the final proposal and vote against it, it will not pass.
On Monday, Henry Waxman (D-California), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman offered a revised proposal for the group. However, Blue Dogs have asked for cost specifics that were not immediately available. It looks as if the bill will not be put to a vote by the deadline that Obama had first given.
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