Stagecoach Driver Waxman issues Ultimatum on HR3200: Get on Board or We Leave Without You

by Bruce Webb

Waxman: Blue Dogs must relent on health reform”
(UPDATE: the linked article has subsequently been rewritten and expanded. What follows is the version from earlier this morning)

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) says there is “no alternative” to having healthcare legislation bypass his committee if Blue Dog Democrats don’t agree to legislation.

Waxman said if the seven Blue Dogs on his panel do not relent, they could join with the committee’s Republicans to “eviscerate” healthcare reform.

“I won’t allow them to hand over control of our committee to Republicans,” Waxman told reporters.

“I dont see what other alternative we have, because we’re not going to let them empower Republicans on the committee.”

I have been wondering about this for a while now. Do you actually need the approval of every committee with jurisdiction over the matter to move a particular piece of legislation to the floor? I don’t mean practically, you don’t want to bigfoot some other committee chairman, I mean legally. I don’t see why and this seems to prove it. We have a bill that passed out of Ways and Means where the tax experts had a look at it and out of Education and Labor where the policy people had their whack plus the committee staff and the Chairman of Energy and Commerce are on board, why would we just concede veto power to a small group of Blue Dogs who have disproportionate representations on that particular committee. And it would appear that the answer is “we don’t have to”.

This is a very promising development for those of us who want to have the whole House pass a bill and so put pressure onto Senate Finance to respond.