This next week basically will end of the year-plus odyssey of health care reform. It’s not clear how it will play out. All I know is I’d better load up with lots of coffee, because I expect some late nights.
Before you leave for your weekend:
• Yes, so the Budget Committee markup has been scheduled on Monday at 3:00pm ET. That’s for the reconciliation sidecar bill, which we should see within the next 24 hours. Democrats would then vote on the Senate bill and the reconciliation fixes, and the President would sign the Senate bill into law before leaving for Indonesia. The Senate would then vote on their reconciliation bill, pass it, and barring no changes, that gets signed. The final votes in the House could take place next weekend.
• Alan Grayson has picked up 14 more co-sponsors for the Public Option Act, his plan for every American to have the chance to buy into Medicare at cost. The new supporters, added to the other 50 co-sponsors for a total of 64, are Carolyn Kilpatrick, Tammy Baldwin, Mike Doyle, Diana DeGette, Steve Cohen, Bennie Thompson, Andre Carson, Yvette Clarke, Steve Israel, James Moran, Emanuel Cleaver, Judy Chu, Donald Payne, and John Garamendi. Doyle is interesting, he’s on my whip count as an undecided. This might push him back into the Yes category.
• Interesting times in California. Gavin Newsom, after halting a run for Governor, jumped into the Lt. Governor’s race on the last possible day, and rolled out endorsements from most of the Democratic leadership in Sacramento, Nancy Pelosi and someone thought to also be contesting that seat, State Sen. Dean Florez. Also, Meg Whitman filmed a fake town hall meeting that she plans to air as a half-hour commercial, and had the police toss out an oppo tracker who had a ticket to the event (her vast investments in companies with business before the state is perhaps a bigger deal). Also, Mickey Kaus hates Ezra Klein. I think he’s running on that slogan for his Senate campaign.
• In case you want polls of all this California stuff, here. Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown have small leads.
• You may have read about the stunning report about Lehman Brothers and accounting fraud. Basically they concealed how bad the losses were prior to collapse. The whole Examiner’s report is here. Yves Smith implicates the NY Fed over it.
• Republicans chose local businessman Tim Burns to be their candidate in the PA-12 special election, against former Jack Murtha staffer Mark Critz. I’d give the edge to Critz, not only because the special falls on the same day as primaries in Pennsylvania where Democrats have more compelling races, but also because the PA-12 primary falls on the same day (yes, two elections for the same seat), and unlike Critz, Burns has to contend with a primary challenger that will make him have to alternate to appealing to the base and the whole set of voters at the same time.
• Education Secretary Arne Duncan connects the student protests last week to the need to pass SAFRA. It’s really a nice surprise that student loan reform will get bound into a health care reconciliation bill – I honestly thought they’d let it wither.
• Consumer protection just got a big backer – the Defense Department. They cite predatory lending against military personnel.
• The Republicans named three members to the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission: Judd Gregg, Tom Coburn, and Mike Crapo. Or, if you like, no new taxes, no new taxes, and no new taxes.
• New DNC ad: you say Massa and Rangel, we say Vitter and Ensign. Nice of them to get tough for a change.
• In a setback for sanity, the Texas Board of Education passed an ugly set of new curriculum standards to essentially write right-wing lies and myths into the information taught in schools. Texas was one of two states which did not agree to the broad set of standards in math and English proposed earlier this week.
• I found this chronicle of the fall of Desiree Rogers quite ugly, not least because they compared her to other Presidential “friends” who run into trouble in Washington, like – and I swear they write this – Alberto Gonzales. Because surely there’s complete similarity in importance between the White House social secretary and the ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.
• A high school in Mississippi cancelled their prom because (horrors!) a lesbian couple planned to attend. The ACLU will sue. Good.
• The ombudsman at the Washington Post thinks he has no oversight responsibilities over the editorial page. The editorial page editor thinks he does. This is how you end up with an editorial page like the Washington Post’s.
• David Petraeus just happens to be speaking at a college campus in New Hampshire next week.
• I know it sounds cliche to ask “Is Glenn Beck losing it?” but his latest war against churches that preach social justice could potentially turn off all Christians, and his jihad against Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” is just weird.
• Every time is the right time to re-interview Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Actually, he sounds like he has a much better grasp on things than before.
• Where can I buy me a toxic asset?