In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Where's CAP? Dems' Top Think Tank Silent On Health Care Logjam


Democrats and their allies have no shortage of ideas about how the party should break the logjam. Some say the House should pass the Senate bill, and amend it in a separate bill. Others think they should break the Senate bill into smaller parts and try to pass those individually. One CAP analyst told the Financial Times, "It now looks extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get anything resembling a broad health care bill out of Congress.... In his State of the Union, Obama has to slim down his ambitions. It should be short and simple and focus on jobs."

But there's no indication whatsoever that this is the institution's official position--and the group's silence reflects a growing sense that the Democratic party machinery was unprepared for the Massachusetts fallout, and is still unsure how the year long push for health care reform will play out.

After all, it's not as if CAP is shy about taking official positions on major issues. Just this month, Podesta himself stepped into the controversy over whether Democrats' private health care deliberations should be aired on C-SPAN. (Podesta broke with Democrats and members of his staff to argue that party leaders should broadcast their meetings publicly.)

We may have more clarity soon. Tomorrow, CAP and Podesta will host a roundtable discussion on "the tremendous challenges facing the American economy, job creation, health reform, and the role of the American labor movement in rebuilding a sustainable economy for all working families."

Senior Democrats say the party doesn't have time on its side--they must figure out a way forward quickly. And unfortunately for them, this comes at a time when their go-to messaging and policy people are just as confused as they are.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at