Can Baucus' Deal Even Clear Committee?
I know Max Baucus thinks he's king of the world for getting a bipartisan love-fest going in the Senate, but as Ezra Klein says, this is not a Finance Committee bill, it's a Max Baucus committee bill, with the inclusion of three centrist Democrats, a moderate Republican, and two conservative Republicans.
It's worth wondering whether a plan like this can even get out of the FINANCE COMMITTEE. Only the three Republicans in the room are likely to vote for it - Hatch walked out, and everyone else on the committee is to the right of him. As for the Democrats, centrists on the committee not participating in these discussions like Lincoln, Carper and Bill Nelson may sign on (though Nelson has to be sensitive to health care issues, coming from Florida), but will anyone else? Menendez? Schumer? Cantwell? Kerry? Stabenow? Rockefeller? Wyden? These Democrats are pretty angered by being shut out of the process, and unlikely to sign on without major changes. I don't see this kind of deal getting 12 votes in committee. Not to mention that it has to be merged with a more liberal HELP Committee bill, and then get support on the floor from liberals like Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold.
Baucus is engaging in some self-love, but I'm not sure it signifies anything.