Barack Obama along with Nancy Pelosi have made much ado about getting health care reform passed before Congress' summer recess in August.
This begs the question, why the rush? While this legislation could be viewed as urgent, the reality is that another month or two will not be the end of the world.
In fact, logic argues we should be doing the very opposite on this legislation and go slow. This is a major change to a very large piece of our economy. Further, it is a complex problem with complicated variables. Taking time to really examine the problem and applying a proper fix is the prudent course of action, not pushing through legislation whose impact has not been studied carefully.
So, back to the question. Why the rush?
I think the question has a two part answer.
First is the content of the bill.
Simply put, no one actually knows what is in this bill. Congressional members have a history of passing legislation they have not read. There is also a history of sticking provisions in the dark of the night to bring various members on board. Beyond this is the fact that Congressional leaders have not been very forth coming in sharing information.
My suspicion is that Congress does not want us to know what is in the legislation. There is already a growing restlessness among the public about the reform. If the public actually knew what was in the bill, the legislation may be permanently doomed.
Further, there has been a significant divide between what the Dems and Obama have been saying the impact on the budget will be and what the CBO has been reporting.
Give the Democrats credit for one thing though, they learned from the Hillary care debacle during the Clinton administration. The mistake they made then was making the process public, they won't repeat that blunder.
I think this rush to pass the legislation is nothing more than slight of hand. They want to get in, pass the bill, and get back out again before the public knows what hit them.
Second is good old fashioned pragmatic politics.
As I said above, the public is growing restless. This is not a good thing for Obama and the Dems and their attempt to pass the legislation.
There is a Congressional election a year from now and some Democratic Senators and, more importantly, all Democratic House members are up for re-election next year.
The House members are the important link here. As we all know there is a loose coalition of moderate Dems called Blue Dog Democrats. Many of these members were elected in 2004 in right leaning districts because the public was turning on the GOP.
To say these are not safe seats is an understatement.
Further there are enough of these members that they hold a large portion of the difference between a Democratic and Republican majority in the House. In other words, their defeat could make the GOP task of retaking the House much simpler.
These members are getting nervous and becoming harder and harder for the House leadership to keep on board.
Two significant factors will come into play over a month long recess.
Those opposed to the legislation will keep up their offensive possibly making the reform less and less popular with the public. The legislation is already slipping in popularity, a month is an eternity in a 24 hour-a-day-news world.
Second, Congressional members are going to go home and get an earful from their constituents.
It is entirely possible that already nervous Congressional members could come back after vacation not only skittish but forever lost.
Worse case scenario is that some members on board now could come back with a changed mind.
Reality is that this legislation, while we admittedly need health care reform, is not good for the country and needs to be slowed down.
Follow up. For a really good example, check out the Khaki Elephant today. They have a perfect video to help make my case for Congressmen going home and taking a hit from their constituents.