With President Obama indicating “that he intends to use the Senate bill as the framework” for the final health care reform legislation, House Democrats are venting “their frustration with the direction of the debate.” House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) told reporters yesterday that there is “a problem on both sides of the Capitol. A serious problem.” An anonymous senior House Democrat, however, placed particular blame on the Senate:
With all of these issues at a standstill, tensions are growing between the two chambers. Several House lawmakers have voiced frustration with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) over concessions and special deals they cut in the Senate version.
“The Senate is just a pain in the ass to everybody in the world as far as I can tell. I’m so angry that I just wish from now on that we’d just find out what it is that Lieberman and Nelson will let us have,” the senior lawmaker said. “But we’re not giving up on anything in the House.”
“We keep hearing them squeal like pigs in the Senate that they had a tough time getting to 60,” Weiner said. “Well, it wasn’t particularly a picnic for us to get to 218. Generally speaking, the Senate kabuki dance has lost its magic on those of us in the House.”
Last month, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) harshly criticized the gridlock of the Senate. “This body prides itself on being the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Specter said. “That designation has been destroyed with what has occurred here the past few days.” Matt Yglesias argued at the time that “the Senate has always been problematic” because it began as “a special house of the legislature designed to undermine democratic accountability.”