Senate Gang Of Six Asks For Delay In Healthcare Debate

A group of six “centrist” senators has asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to slow down the stampede to pass health care reform.

A bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday urging delay in consideration of health care reform.

The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, was drafted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is also signed by Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, signed on, as did Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — moderates heavily courted by President Obama.

….Any of those individual senators calling for delay by themselves would be a surmountable obstacle; but together, they make a formidable force and throw the possibility of an August vote in serious doubt.

This follows the concerns expressed by House Blue Dog Democrats that are worried that the tax increases proposed to pay for Obamacare will cripple small business.

Seven Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have banded together to draft amendments that they’ll co-sponsor in the committee markup, which starts Thursday. Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the Blue Dogs’ point man on healthcare, says if those changes aren’t accepted, they’ll vote down the bill.

“We cannot support the current bill,” Ross said. “Last time I checked, it took seven Democrats to stop a bill in Energy and Commerce.”

After the Elmendorf Earthquake yesterday, when the CBO director essentially told Congress and President Obama to quit lying about the “budget savings” healthcare reform would create, the tide seems to be turning against President Obama. It’s amazing what just one brief statement of fact can do to what many thought was a formidable political mandate. Where were the Elmendorfs during the Cap and Trade debate? And the Stimulus debates? Both of those pieces of legislation were rushed through with the same level of disingenuousness. (The stimulus bill is the butt of jokes today)

It could be that some members of Congress are feeling vulnerable, perhaps anticipating an economic recovery that may show up after the 2010 midterm elections. Having just listened to President Obama say that health insurance reform cannot add a penny to the deficit (and he says ‘He means it“), it must be asked again: Why should anyone believe him? The recent defections in Congress indicate that fewer people on Capitol Hill believe him as some cracks in the Obama facade begin to appear.

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