In it, but not of it. TPM DC

House Braces For Coakley Loss: Are They Ready For Health Care Concession?


Administration officials think there is an argument to be made for Plan B since Congress has gotten this far and the bills are 90 percent the same.

In a telling detail, the White House tonight emailed reporters several blog entries (including this one by TPM's Josh Marshall) that favorably suggested the House pass the Senate bill.

House aides told us the White House seems to be pushing Plan B but that members aren't readying for such a vote. The aides also say members won't go for it, and if it's true they aren't prepared for the possibility, Wednesday could be a cold-water wake-up call.

House sources also told us Plan B would seem to scrap the weeks of intense negotiations leaders, staff and even the president have engaged in to make the bills better.

In public statements, leaders suggested they will find a way to get their compromise bill passed.

"Whatever happens in Massachusetts, we have to do that. And whatever happens in Massachusetts we will have quality affordable health care for all Americans, and it will be soon," Pelosi said tonight before huddling with Democratic members for a planned caucus meeting.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters today the Senate bill is "clearly better than nothing."

"I want us to do everything we can to make it better, just as we did before this happened. I don't know what's going to happen in Massachusetts," said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), chairman of the Rules Committee.

But it won't be easy to keep rank-and-file members, especially conservative Democrats, in line with what would be a tough loss in a blue state.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) said "chances would diminish significantly for achieving health care reform this year" if Coakley loses, according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza.

Additional reporting by Brian Beutler.