In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Earlier today, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made it pretty clear that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor will not be filibustered.

"I will not support--and I don't think any member of this side will support--a filibuster or any attempt to block a vote on your nomination."

That's even farther than Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was willing to go yesterday. Obviously other senators will do what they'll do, but it seems that, despite all the flame throwing, if Sessions has his way, Sotomayor will be confirmed before the August recess.

As promised, here's the American Medical Association's official statement: "This legislation includes a broad range of provisions that are key to effective, comprehensive health system reform," said J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA president. "We urge the House committees of jurisdiction to pass the bill for consideration by the full House."

You can read the rest of the statement below the fold, but note that Rohack doesn't just urge passage of the bill out of committees. Or at least he seems to go farther than that. "We support passage of H.R. 3200, and we look forward to additional constructive dialogue as the long process of passing a health reform bill continues."

But he also calls this "an important step, but one of many steps in the process."

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CBO chief Doug Elmendorf testified before the Senate Budget Committee today and spoke words that will invariably come back to haunt Democrats. "In the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount," Elmendorf told chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND). "On the contrary," he said, "the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs."

This is true, but it's also more complicated than that. First of all, the CBO has analyzed two bills so far: The Senate HELP Committee's bill and the House's so-called tri-committee bill. But, crucially, the HELP Committee doesn't have jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid where many of these savings can--and likely will--be found. And, just as crucially, the CBO hasn't scored those parts of the House bill either.

"The analysis issued today does not take into account other parts of the proposal that would raise taxes or reduce other spending (particularly in Medicare) in an effort to offset the federal costs of the coverage provisions," Elmendorf wrote with regard to the House bill on the CBO's blog two days ago. In fact CBO has only analyzed "the major provisions related to health insurance coverage that are contained in draft legislation." Most of the provisions that would reduce the trajectory of federal health care spending, though, will not be found in the sections of the legislation that pertain to expanding coverage.

But that doesn't mean either the House or the Senate is working on legislation that will maximize the reduction in federal health care spending. As Ezra Klein notes, many of the hypothetical provisions that would work dramatically on that score have been eschewed for political reasons.

Words are words, though. Conservatives are already beginning to use the words of an anonymous Democratic aide against the House's health care reform bill. And they'll likely latch on to this as well.

Just a couple weeks ago, the AMA was trying to have it both ways with the public option. The group had long opposed the provision, but in an appearance on CNN, its President J. James Rohack was unable to come right out and say so. Now it seems as if they've gotten over, or at least managed to suppress, their concerns. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association, I am writing to express our appreciation and support for H.R. 3200, the 'America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,'" wrote AMA Vice President Michael Maves in a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel.

This legislation includes a broad range of provisions that are key to effective, comprehensive health system reform. We urge members of the House Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means Committees to favorably report H.R. 3200 for consideration by the full House.

You can read the full letter here.

Note, this caveat. "The AMA looks forward to further constructive dialogue during the committee mark-up process. We pledge to work with the House committees and leadership to build support for passage of health reform legislation to expand access to high quality, affordable health care for all Americans." 'Building support' would likely entail weakening the bill in some ways, and it seems likely that with respect to certain provisions, the AMA would be just fine with that. But this is nonetheless a pretty major development.

I'm told that the AMA will be releasing a statement shortly, and I'll pass that along when I receive it.

Today, two days after House Democrats unveiled their health care plan, President Obama & Co. continue to push hard for support on the bill.

MSNBC aired Obama's full interview with Nancy Snyderman, aka "Dr. Nancy," at noon ET today. In it, he predictably emphasized "self-responsibility," saying, "The American people have to recognize that there's no such thing as a free lunch." He kept to talking points about mandated individual insurance, taxes and small business, avoiding discussing the political entanglements.

Vice President Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will talk health care at a Middle Class Task Force meeting at 1:30 p.m. ET, specifically about how "health care reform will lower costs, cut waste and improve quality for seniors from across the country," according to the White House.

Obama was also holding meetings with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE).

After the meeting, Snowe told ABC that "We shouldn't be restrained by an artificially compressed timeline."

But just a few minutes ago, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, she said she hopes they can commit to something before the August recess.

If only it were that cheap. ABC is now picking up on the claim that the House Democrats' health care reform bill will cost a made-up number.

A couple things stand out here. First, the ABC reporters who wrote the piece--Jonathan Karl, Z. Byron Wolf, and Huma Khan--seem to be basing their article a couple Associated Press pieces which peg the legislation at $1.5 trillion...based on the contention of one anonymous Democratic aide. For whatever reason, the AP isn't relying in this instance on the Congressional Budget Office--or other, on the record House Democrats--which prices the bill at about $1 trillion. That's without taking into account revenue-generating measures.

Second, they're using the word "billion" instead of "trillion"--a three-order-of-magnitude difference notwithstanding all the problems with the number "1.5".

That now makes two news organizations--Time, and ABC--along with Newt Gingrich who have taken this AP number and run with it. How far will it go?

Karenna Gore Schiff will not run for Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-NY) seat, a Gore family spokeswoman confirms.

"Karenna Gore Schiff has no intention of running for the House of Representatives. She's currently working on a documentary and spending time as a full-time mom," Kalee Kreider told TPMDC.

Roll Call reported speculation this morning that Al Gore's oldest daughter was eyeing Maloney's seat. Maloney is reportedly planning a primary run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010.

We've seen it happen before: disinformation, disseminated for political reasons, becomes a talking point, and then, maybe, conventional wisdom. And there's a real risk of this happening with respect to the House's health care proposal.

Time's Mark Halperin is linking to this morning's Associated Press story, which repeats the claim--based on the claim of one anonymous Democratic aide--that the bill will cost $1.5 trillion. But the Congressional Budget Office--normally the arbiter of these things for reporters--says the bill will cost significantly less. One trillion dollars, specifically. And that's the number House health care leaders--and most reporters--cite on the record when asked.

Not the AP, though. They seem to be standing by their flimsy story. Flimsy or not, though, it's starting to take hold.

Karenna Gore Schiff, the oldest daughter of Al Gore, is reportedly eyeing a seat in the House of Representatives.

"Gore Schiff is openly discussing the possibility of running," reports Roll Call, citing anonymous Democratic operatives.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) will challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for the Democratic nomination in 2010, a senior adviser told the Daily News. An official announcement is expected this week.

Her departure would lead to the first open-seat House race in Manhattan since 1976.

Gore Schiff, 35, is a lawyer and serves on the board of the Association to Benefit Children.

Late Update: The rumors are false. Gore Schiff is not running, confirms a family spokeswoman.

I reported Tuesday that the House is moving swiftly to complete work on its health care reform legislation. By the end of the day, all three committees of jurisdiction will have at begun marking up the legislation, and one--the Education and Labor Committee--may have completed its work. You can watch that panel's mark up live at this link.

The Ways and Means Committee is also getting busy--live coverage here; amendments here.

Rounding things out, the longest mark up will occur in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which will begin work this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, and wrap up next Wednesday. Those proceedings will also be streamed live online. And, if you're hungry for more, you can follow this Twitter feed.

When that's done, the different titles of the bill can be stitched together and the House can debate and vote on the entire package.