Panicky Senate Democrats meet to find a way out of Obamacare mess
The signs of panic are all over the Hill these days. Democrats in the House are breaking with their party to support Rep Fred Upton's "Keep Your Plan Act." And Harry Reid has called a meeting of his entire Senate caucus and White House officials to discuss how they can get out from under the Obamacare mess.
The much closer than expected Virginia governor's race as well as recent poll numbers of Democratic Senator Kay Hagen from North Carolina have the Dems sweating. The victor in VA, Terry McAuliffe, lost a double digit lead in the last 10 days of race to squeeze out a narrow victory over Ken Cuccinelli who was vastly outmanned and underfunded. Cuccinelli hammered away at Obamacare for the last fortnight of the race to make what should have been a breeze for McAuliffe into a nail biter.
Senator Hagan was enjoying a double digit lead of her own in NC, topping all GOP candidates from 12-17 points in a PPP Poll. But the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Hagen with just a 2 point lead over the same candidates. That's the kind of thing that gets the attention of professional politicians, hence the Reid meeting today:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday will convene a special meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus and senior White Officials to discuss the troubled rollout of ObamaCare.
Reid on Wednesday told reporters he would not answer questions about the hundreds of thousands of insurance policy cancellations or other issues until he has further discussions with the White House.
The Senate leader said President Obama called him Tuesday evening to discuss healthcare and other issues.
Several Democrats have signed onto a proposal sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that would force insurance companies to let people keep their health plans if they like them.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he would have a better idea of what proposals Democrats will push to improve the new law after the Thursday meeting.
Republicans could scarcely contain their glee over the growing Democratic anxiety.
"Obviously panic has set in on the other side," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
The job of the White House aides who will be attending is to buck up the spirits of those Senators who a week ago may have been shoo-ins for re-election, as well as lay down the law about voting to change Obamacare. The White House is not going to give in on this issue, realizing the passage of a bill that would allow people to keep their insurance plans would threaten the very existence of Obamacare.
Reid will reinforce that message, but with the president's approval numbers tanking, how much do these Democrats really have to fear from a lame duck president? With their own survival at stake, expect vulnerable Democrats to act accordingly to save themselves even if it means defying the president.