Grijalva To White House: It’s On You Now

Douglas Graham/WLP,Inc./Newscom

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a leading House progressive says if the White House can throw its weight behind a controversial tax in the Senate health care bill, it can stand up for some of the House’s priorities, too.

In an interview with TPMDC moments after a conference call with over 175 members of the House Democratic caucus, Grijalva said he was encouraged by what he heard from members–strong support for the House bill–but the President needs to get involved if their concerns will be met.

“The president is having his listening sessions, right?” Grijalva asked rhetorically. “After all we’ve been through at some point the administration can not be neutral players in this process.”Noting that the President stands foursquare behind the Senate’s proposal to tax so-called “Cadillac” insurance policies to raise money, Grijalva put it to him to weigh in on some of the House’s priorities. “How do you weigh in on a national exchange? How do you weigh in on a public option? How do you weigh in on the anti-trust exemption?”

The public option is a non-starter at this point, and House leaders, progressives, and key chairmen are pushing the White House to support other priorities, including organizing insurance exchanges at a national level, moving the implementation date for major reforms forward by one year, and, at least, diminishing the impact of the Cadillac tax.

“Watching the fight is not enough,” Grijalva said. “The pressure shifts to the White House now.”

Grijalva says he’s putting the finishing touches on a document contrasting the House, Senate, and Congressional Progressive Caucus positions on health care reform. Speaker Pelosi has been given the document, and it will soon be delivered to Senate Majority Leader harry Reid and the White House. We’ll shoot it your way when we get it.