Politics

President Obama Still Believes In Health Care Reform, And You Can Tell Because His Administration Is Making It Its Top Fourth Priority.

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 "When I say 'it's a priority,' you shouldn't take me to actually mean 'it's a priority.'"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be determined to pole vault, parachute, or do a rocket-powered triple lutz over an ocean of demon fire on her way to passing the health care bill (whatever it takes!), but top Obama adviser Rahm Emannuel isn't having any of it. After spending its first year on little else, the Obama administration has degraded health care reform's priority rating to we'll get to it later.

Mr. Emanuel, the chief of staff, said he hoped Congressional Democrats would take up the jobs bill next week. Then, in his view, Congress would move to the president's plan to impose a fee on banks to help offset losses to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the fund used to bail out banks and automakers. Lawmakers would next deal with a financial regulatory overhaul, and then pick up where they left off on health care.

Seems as if, at least amongst more politically savvy Democrats, it's finally becoming clear that the party just doesn't have the votes to pass a reform bill. Pelosi claims she has the votes provided the Senate pushes through requested changes in reconciliation. But a number of Democratic Senators oppose that maneuver, and even if enough of the party was united in its desire to go forward with reconciliation, it would likely be a lengthy, messy process—one that might not even result in House Democrats getting the changes they're looking for. And with mounting pressure for Democrats to pivot to jobs, they can't afford another drawn-out procedural battle. So comprehensive health care reform will die a slow, lonely death on Washington's back burner as yet another legislative priority that no one really prioritizes.