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January 19th, 2010 10:48 am
Massachusetts and Pelosi’s Plan B on ObamaCare

Today, all eyes are on Massachusetts as Bay State voters head to the polls to decide the fate of the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy.  Will Republican State Senator Scott Brown pull it out against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley?  We will all know soon enough.

The special election between Brown and Coakley is, in large part, a referendum on President Obama’s agenda, including health care reform.  The President himself, while avoiding the health care issue as much as possible, all but admitted as much during a campaign speech for Coakley on Sunday.  If Brown does pull off a victory, Democrats will lose the 60th vote in the Senate needed to sustain their filibuster-proof majority to pass ObamaCare and possibly other legislation on President Obama’s agenda.

But that is not discouraging some in the Democrat leadership, most notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  According to Alex Koppelman at Salon.com, Pelosi commented about the situation during an event in San Francisco yesterday:

“Let’s remove all doubt, we will have healthcare one way or another. … Certainly the dynamic would change depending on what happens in Massachusetts. Just the question about how we would proceed. But it doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill.”   

How can the Speaker be so confident?  According to a report in yesterday’s New York Times:

The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders, scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, have begun laying the groundwork to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the bill and send it directly to President Obama for his signature.

In other words, Plan B for Pelosi appears to be to ask her caucus just to approve the Senate-passed health care bill, avoiding another vote in the Senate altogether.  That’s a big ask considering the numerous and significant complaints many in her caucus have expressed about the Senate bill.

If Scott Brown wins today in the most liberal state in the Union, the message to rank-and-file Democrats about health care “reform” and President Obama’s overall agenda should be clear.  If Brown wins and they continue to follow Pelosi’s lead and pass ObamaCare “one way or another,” they ignore that clear message at their own peril.

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