By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst
March 15, 2010 – This could be the week a health care reform bill is passed by Congress or is faced with defeat. But judging from White House staff making the rounds on Sunday talk shows – they’re predicating victory while their critics predicted failure.
So who’s right?
White House senior advisor to the president, David Axelrod, told CNN’s State of the Union, they will have the votes needed in Congress. “Obviously, this is a struggle. Look, the lobbyists for the insurance industry have landed on Capitol Hill like locusts, and they are going to be doing everything they can in the next week to try and muscle people.”
It’s doubtful the Dems will get any support from the GOP. House Minority leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) told CNN even though Democrats have agreed to include Republicans’ suggestions to have undercover agents investigate Medicare fraud, eliminated the public option, included medical malpractice reforms and tax credits for small businesses; it is still not enough.
“We could come to an agreement on probably eight or 10 common sense steps that you’ve outlined to make our health care system better. But we can’t come to an agreement on eight or 10 things,” Boehner said.
House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, (D-S.C.) admitted on NBC’s Meet the Press that as of now the votes for passage in the House weren’t there but said, “I’m also very confident we’ll get this done.”
Republicans see the failure of health care reform as a sure fire way to regain the majority in the House in November. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called the health-care vote “a political kamikaze mission” for Democrats, saying it has morphed into a “larger issue of the role of government in American lives.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs appearing on Fox News Sunday said, “We’re happy to have the 2010 elections be about the achievement of health-care reform. That’s a debate I think we’re obviously comfortable having.”
It’s predicted an up or down vote will come sometime this week. On Saturday the president announced he would delay his trip planned to Indonesia and Australia so he can be on hand for the final days of negotiations.
Do you think Congress will pass a health care reform bill?