Sunday, November 22, 2009
Health Reform Debate and the Embers of December
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghosts upon the floor.
Edgar Allen Poe, 1809-1849
As we look forward to the December health care debate, it is important to remember other issues – other burning embers – besides health care smolder on the Senate floor and must be dealt with. These embers could flare up, complicate, and even derail the health care train.
The glowing embers are,
• raising the national debt limit, which is very much on the public’s mind and which could create the impression Democrats are out-of-control spenders;
• shutting down the Patriot Act, which could result in accusations of lack of patriotism;
• extending highway construction, part of the controversial Stimulus package;
• Prolonging unemployment programs, a reminder that the Obama administration programs have had no effect on unemployment;
• Continuing the federal estate tax, another burning ember that Democrats are devoted to high taxes;
• Deciding how much to fund the troops in Afghanistan, another potential political firestorm.
On these burning issues, Republicans are sure to argue Congress ought to scrap the health care issue and focus on more pressing spending bills and bills relating to national secuity.
December promises to be a dark and messy month.