In a major blow to President Obama’s push for health care legislation, Harry Reid has told reporters that the Senate would not attempt to pass a bill before the August recess.
“It’s better to get a product that’s based on quality and thoughtfulness than on trying to just get something through,” Reid said today, according to the Politico.
While Reid tried to play down the news as “no surprise to anyone” it actually is a pretty big deal. For months, Obama was pressuring Democratic leaders to pass bills in both chambers of Congress before the recess, leaving the fall for merely reconciling the two bills. Now opponents of the legislation will have the entire month of August to educate the American public about the perils of the legislation. It means more time for bad economic news to come out that undermines Obama’s credibility, and more time for Obama’s approval ratings, trending south, to fall further. It also means health care will have to compete with lots of other Congressional priorities. The health care fight is by no means over, and it still remains quite possible that Obama will sign some sort of health care bill toward the end of the year. But the missed deadline is unmistakably a massive set back, and the first time in Obama’s young presidency that he hasn’t gotten something from Congress that he has really wanted.