Chop-It-Up Caucus

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The mood on the Hill seems to be trending away from efforts to walk away from Health Care Reform. But of those who say they will not pass the Senate bill as is, one faction says the best approach is to break the current bill into its constituent parts and pass them in succession over the course of 2010.Now, there’s one small bit of logic to this approach — on their own a number of key provisions of reform (like a ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions) would be very hard for opponents to vote against. But that’s really overweighed by the fact that most of these fixes and reforms don’t work in budgetary or policy terms unless they’re done together. (Force insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions at reasonable rates and the risk pools change dramatically — forcing everyone else’s premiums up, unless you add in subsidies and get more people into the system.)

And even more to the point, it’s just very hard to figure how Democrats who have lost the stomach to pass a single bill in January are going to have the fortitude to pass a series of bills in the midst of what will no doubt be the transcendent calm of the 2010 election. And remember, every bill that passes the House, you may remember, has to pass the Senate. In other words, it’s doesn’t really make sense in policy terms and the politics seems to verge on insane.

So who’s in the Chop-It-Up Caucus? Yesterday Rep. Delahunt was one of the first to enter. And then a few moments ago we heard from TPM reporter Brian Beutler up on the Hill that Rep. Blumenauer is also in. And just a few moments ago we heard from TPM reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro outside the House Dems caucus meeting who tells us that Rep. Tanner just said that his preferred approach is to split the bill into smaller chunks “Republicans can agree with us on.” Continued Tanner: “A 2000 page bill is not something I’m particularly interested in.”

Who else have you heard argue to chop it up and keep at it through 2010?

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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