Thursday, December 10, 2009

Give 'em Hell, Raul

The head of the House progressive caucus, Rep. Raul Grijalva, says he probably won't back the Senate bill. Here's his take:

An influential progressive in the House of Representatives says that the public option compromise taking shape in the Senate might not survive the lower chamber--particularly if the Senate tries to jam its health care bill through the House.

In an interview this afternoon, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said he met with the Congressional Progressive Caucus' health care task force yesterday and they all agreed. "There is consensus within the progressive caucus," Grijalva said. "Personally I'm in agreement with them. I don't think very much of it."

"We're questioning whether you can define [what's coming out of the Senate] as a robust PO, and we don't think you can," he told me.

"There's rumors that we will skip conference--that we won't do conference--and bring their bill directly to the floor, and we are very, very opposed to that," Grijalva said.
He does admit that it's possible that he might back the thing, depending on what the Congressional Budget Office says. I think that that's a mistake: he needs to take a strong stand now, since Washington will take any flexibility as a sign that he's going to fold.

He should not fold. The Senate must learn that its own problems with corporatist "centrists" are matched by the House's need to keep progressive votes. Any compromise must be from those two positions: America's flexible House and inflexible Senate has a lot to do with how broken the Congress is right now.

Raul must make it clear that, liberals, cannot and will not be taken for granted.

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