Too Hot To Handle?

Via Joe Bodell at MN “Progressive” Project, it seems that Rep Tim Walz’s  (DFL, MN 1st District) feet are cooling down in re the notion of passing the Senate Obamacare bill.


One of the remaining options for the health insurance reform effort is for the House of Representatives to pass the Senate version of the bill verbatim, thus avoiding having to send a modified bill back to the Senate for debate, where it would likely die thanks to 41 votes being stronger than 59.

Which, of course, the Dems could “fix” by invoking the “Nuclear Option” – changing the Senate rules to allow cloture, or the shutting down of filibusters, on a majority vote rather than needing the traditional 60 votes.  Which they are loathe to do, since it’ll come back to haunt them when the Senate changes hands again, and that change looks to be closer at hand than they’d figured a year ago.

So it’s back to parliamentary tactics 101:

Thus, [the Tics] need to figure out where House members stand — several have said various things about whether they would vote for the Senate bill, and TPM is making a list — and Minnesota’s Tim Walz looks like he falls into the “maybe” category.

I got the following statement from Walz’s spokesperson:

Congressman Walz has not taken an official stand on whether he would vote for the Senate health care reform bill verbatim if it were put before the House. However, the pay-for-value Medicare reimbursement provisions that currently exist in both bills are an extremely important consideration.

So the absence of a public option in the Senate bill doesn’t sound like a deal-breaker for Walz — but unless it looks like there could be 218 votes for the Senate bill, members are likely to be very skittish about making public pronouncements one way or the other.

“Skittish” is a good word for it.  Walz squeaked into office in 2006 by beating “Moderate” Republican Gil Gutknecht in one of the worst elections for Republicans in recent memory (until 2008).  He represents a largely red district in the rural southwest part of Minnesota, hundreds of thousands of acres of conservative farmers surrounding a tiny blue outpost in Mankato.  He’s right to be skittish; he must looking at Byron Dorgan and Earl Pomeroy’s contortions, and Collin Peterson’s deep ambivalence about throwing himself on a sword for Barack Obama in his very similar Seventh District, and calculating his odds.

CORRECTION:  Yeah, I know – Walz is the First, not Third, District.  I’m a Saint Paul guy.  Anything west of Lyndale is a purely academic concept to me.  As is the concept of “a responsive Congressperson…”

8 thoughts on “Too Hot To Handle?

  1. Walz, Peterson and Ron Kind (across the St. Croix in WI-3) all have to be watching their respective backs at this point. My Wisconsin pals tell me that even Dave Obey could be in trouble this year.

  2. Change the Senate filibuster rules?

    I doubt it, since the Senate leader and Dear Leader oppose that tactic.

    Reid wrote. “And that, simply put, would be the end of the United States Senate … A filibuster is the minority’s way of not allowing the majority to shut off debate, and without robust debate, the Senate is crippled.”

    “…if the majority chooses to end the filibuster — if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate — then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse,” Obama said

    Remember what “No new taxes” did to H.W.

    The trend has been that the longer people have to look at ObamaNationCare the LESS they like it and the more they oppose it!!!

  3. I used to leave in Dave “It’s only a lousy $3,000,000” Obey’s district. He was a moderate Democrat from Wausau when first elected in 1969. Now he is a Pelosi yes-man from Washington DC. This guy (the Republican challenger) from Ashland seems to have something going. Anyone whose resume includes being a professional logroller and spending a season on the MTV Real World, could be an interesting candidate.

  4. Anything west of Lyndale is a purely academic concept to me

    I laughed when I read this, for I am the same way with anything east of Snelling. I’ll make the rare exception and push my comfort zone over to Lexington, but only when I’m cruising with a buddy on what’s left of Friday and Saturday nights. Dale? Rice? 7th? To me, it all gets lost in the fog.

  5. I have to commute between the 5th and 3rd districts daily. The contrast is amazing. You can literally tell the street that divides the districcts because well, its just obvious

  6. “Walz squeaked into office in 2006 2006
    Democratic Tim Walz 141,622 53 –
    Republican Gil Gutknecht (Incumbent) 126,487 47

    6%+ victory in a Red District you call a squeaker, I’ll make a note of that in your Double Standard dictionary LOL

  7. You know, flash is right. You can’t call that a squeaker, that’s a landslide, a MANDATE.*

    (* At least if you listen to lefty pundits, since that’s exactly the same percentages as PBO got.)

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