After a brief period of consultation following the White House health-reform summit, congressional Democrats plan to begin making the case next week for a massive, Democrats-only health care plan, party strategists told POLITICO.
A Democratic official said the six-hour summit was expected to “give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans.”
Democrats plan to begin rhetorical, and perhaps legislative, steps toward the Democrats-only, or reconciliation, process early next week, the strategists said.
After the summit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) planned to take the temperature of their caucuses.
“The point [of the summit] is to alter the political atmospherics, and it will take a day or two to sense if it succeeded,” the official said.
Positive statements by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) of late “are early signs the environment is already shifting a little in favor of revisiting health care.”
It's clear: Democrats are going to RAM THIS THROUGH.
An e-mail from a House Democratic leadership aide gives a sense of the party’s post-summit message.
“The President walked into a room filled with the entire House Republican Conference. There were no pre-conditions, his only request was that it be open to the press so that the American people could see the exchange,” the aide e-mailed. “He answered every question with a thoughtful, comprehensive response. He spoke for over an hour and discussed substantive policy issues.
“The President never once worried about it being a trap. He didn’t cry about the room set-up. His conduct reflected someone who was confident in his ideas, respectful of the other side, and not afraid to debate important issues. … Some Republicans have insulted the Summit by calling it a set-up or a taxpayer-funded infomercial. Now we learn they have spent several weeks organizing a rapid response operation.”
A House Republican aide said this would be the party’s post-summit message: "Americans want to scrap the Democrats' massive bill and start over with clean sheet of paper to work on step-by-step, common-sense reforms that lower health care costs."