TPMDC Morning Roundup

NYT: A New Search For Consensus On Health Care
The New York Times reports on the latest efforts to find a new consensus for a pared-down health care bill: “The consensus measure would be less ambitious than the bills approved last year. It would extend insurance coverage to perhaps 12 million to 15 million people — and provide political cover to Democrats, who said they could not simply drop the issue after spending so much time and effort on it. The pared-back approach would cover fewer than half of those who, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would gain coverage under the House and Senate bills. But it would not put the government on the hook for what critics say is a new entitlement, a change that would appeal to some Republicans.”

Obama’s Day Ahead
President Obama will depart form the White House at 9:35 a.m. ET and Andrews Air Force Base at 9:50 a.m. ET, arriving at 11 a.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. Obama will tour the Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Fab Lab facilities at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, at 1:20 p.m. ET, and hold a town hall meeting at 2:05 p.m. ET. Obama will depart from Cleveland at 4:55 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 6 p.m. ET, and back at the White House at 6:15 p.m. ET.Gates: ‘The United States Does Not Covet A Single Inch Of Pakistani Soil’
Speaking to officers at Pakistan’s National Defense University, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sought to assuage doubts about the American presence in the region. “I fully understand why some of you may be skeptical about the U.S. commitment to Pakistan,” said Gates, also adding: “The United States does not covet a single inch of Pakistani soil.”

Baucus: ‘We’re Going To Pass Health Care Reform”
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) predicted that health care reform will still pass. “We’re going to pass health care reform. There are lots of options, and we’re just talking about the pros and cons,” said Baucus, who also added that “it might take a day or two” to figure out how to do it.

Obama Bank Plan Wins Backing From Europe
President Obama’s plan to put new restrictions on banks’ sizes and trading activities has picked up support from Europe, including the region’s conservatives. “They see that regulation, which was a taboo word that was difficult to use in financial circles in the United States, is vital to contain … banking excesses,” said French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde.

Harkin To Push Filibuster Reform — Faces Uphill Battle
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), a long time opponent of the filibuster is set to introduce a proposal soon to eliminate the power of the Senate minority to block legislation, noting that the frequency of filibusters has risen from once per Congress in the 1950’s to 139 in the last one. However, Baucus will have a lot of problems trying to remove the 60-vote threshold — it takes 67 votes to change the Senate rules.

Leno To Headline White House Correspondents Dinner
Jay Leno will headline the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner. The decision was made before the recent controversies involving Leno getting The Tonight Show back, and Conan O’Brien leaving NBC, according to the White House Correspondents Association.