"We have to wait to see what they think they can pass," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). "The sense they give us is that Reid doesn't know from issue to issue what they can get votes for."
But, he adds, it's the only path forward that makes any real sense. "It's the only practical way. Everyone's in the same place--we want to get as much as we can get
However, though the idea has begun to resonate with House members in theory, they're not willing to hang their hopes on the Senate, an institution they increasingly distrust. They want something concrete first, before they'll move ahead with the Senate health care bill.
"The idea of doing the Senate bill and then doing the reconciliation on spec just to see what happens--I don't think anyone really thinks that's a good idea," Weiner said. "I don't know if the Senate literally has to move first, but at least they have to give us the high sign on what it is that they can do and can't do. And we're not getting much guidance from them, and we're also not getting much guidance from the mothership about what the White House really wants, and what they're prepared to push for, etc."
And then there's the X-Factor: What will President Obama say about the health care reform push in his State of the Union address tomorrow.
"A lot hangs on what the President says tomorrow," said Rep. John Larson (D-CT)
Weiner echoed this sentiment. "He needs to give us some legislative marching orders here, because anything less than that is going to be seen as his acquiescence to us essentially walking away from it. And I think that would be regrettable from all sides."