Republican Senators Go On The Offensive Against Reconciliation VoteThe Hill: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is seeking bipartisan support to block Senate Democrats from using special parliamentary tactics to pass healthcare reform. The Democratic strategy of using reconciliation to pass changes to the healthcare bill is reminiscent of Republican attempts to force President George W. Bush's judicial nominees through with a simple majority vote, McCain said Thursday. He implored centrist Democrats to think about the consequences. .. And McCain reminded Democrats that he was a member of the bipartisan Gang of 14, which stopped Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) from using the so-called nuclear option in 2005" (Bolton, 3/5).
Roll Call: Senate Republicans have stepped-up their message attack against President Barack Obama's latest push to pass health reform. "A key element of the Senate GOP's plan appears to be to try to scare House Democrats against voting for the health care plan, arguing that there's no guarantee that the Senate approves a reconciliation package." Senate GOP Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D) "said Senate Republicans would work hard to derail the reconciliation package, saying they are prepared to work through the upcoming spring recess to try to defeat the Democrats' health care agenda." The strategy includes raising budget points of order and offering numerous amendments "to try and delay or kill a reconciliation bill" (Drucker, 3/4).
McClatchy: Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Thursday called for an "independent investigation" into the nomination of a Utah man to a federal judgeship, "suggesting that President Barack Obama may have nominated [Scott Matheson] to buy the health care vote of his brother," Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah). However, "Rep. Matheson's office has rejected any suggestion of a quid pro quo. After voting against the health care legislation in the House, Matheson is now undecided about how he'd vote on a Senate version heading his way." Despite Bachmann's charge, some prominent Republican Utah lawmakers, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have made statements in support of Matheson's nomination (Thomma, 3/4).
Politico: "Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) agreed to postpone his resignation until after any potential health care reform vote. Deal, in the midst of a competitive Republican primary for governor, announced this week that he planned to resign from his House seat on March 8." But yesterday Deal said "he would remain to help block any future Democratic-led health care legislation. He did not set a new resignation date. The move means House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now need 217 votes to pass health care legislation, one more than if Deal had resigned before the vote" (Kraushaar, 3/4). This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.