In light of a bloody legislative year, in which the House passed a number of controversial measures that ultimately stalled in the Senate, Blue Dogs and other endangered Democrats have been putting substantial amounts of pressure on Pelosi and the rest of the House leadership to not act on more controversial bills without sure signals that the Senate was already lined up to pass them. The Blue Dogs, you see, are tired of getting thrown under Pelosi’s bus on behalf of unpopular bills that don’t become law. It’s one thing to hypothesize that the public might like the effects of an unpopular bill after it passes, it’s another to try to recover from voting in favor of one when you can’t even hold on to that vain hope.
In light of the fact that Congressional Democrat leadership has apparently decided to give self-immolation a try on behalf of the wildly unpopular Obamacare reforms, the Blue Dogs had hoped yet again that the Senate would act first. However, earlier this week, Kent Conrad sent a clear signal to the House that the bill was dead entirely unless the House passed the Senate version first. So how did Pelosi and the rest of Dem leadership respond?
The House could act first to pass a healthcare bill within the next month, a top House chairman signaled Thursday.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), suggested that the House may pass the Senate bill before any other action is taken — a key concession to Senate Democrats.
This is an especially foolhardy move by Pelosi since, as the article notes, she doesn’t believe she even has the votes to pass it, thus putting many of her most vulnerable members inbetween the rock of a possible nutroots primary challenge and the hard place of a loss in the general election. In other words, the clear message being sent to House Democrats, like the message sent to vulnerable Senate Democrats, is “be prepared to fall on your sword.” But hey, take heart Blue Dogs – if the agony is too much to bear, Obama is prepared to act as your second.