America got some much needed breathing room today as two major domestic items were taken off the fast track for some well-warranted reconsideration. First the Washington Post reported that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee won’t consider cap-and-trade until September at the earliest. Then Blue Dog Democrats in the House demanded a delay on crafting a health care reform bill so concerns over potential tax increases and government-sold insurance could be worked out. Speaker Nancy Pelosi still wants the bill out by mid-August, but Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) of the Blue Dogs says no vote should be taken before the fall, saying, “We need to slow down and do it right.”
Truer words could not have been spoken, Rep. Ross. Since the inauguration, Congress and the President have been on a nonstop dash to enact every piece of legislation they could before the present situation arose – declining poll numbers for Obama that have Democrats skittish of hitching their wagon with no cover of Republican support. For all the pre-election talk of bipartisanship, the GOP has been marginalized like no time before, and was basically ignored during the crafting of the stimulus and the cap-and-trade debacles. Those who might say that it’s the right of the majority party to do so probably weren’t thinking that way back in 2004 with the GOP in control of both Houses.
It’s good news for those concerned that these two items would be railroaded through Congress with no time to consider key provisions or even, heaven forbid, to read the bill. Final passage of both is still a very real possibility, though, so at this point it’s not a “Stick a fork in ’em” moment. However as the electorate learns more of these two proposals with the delay, support may sour more than it already has, particularly if the health care reform bill will still include a government-run public option and utilizes dangerous tax increases to pay for the mammoth cost, and if the cap and trade bill … well … exists, period.
Democrats may come to the realization that they have the firepower with the electorate to attempt only battle, and at that point, cap and trade will be abandoned and it will be the universal health care battle that is undertaken. For now, though, America has a reprieve from knee-jerk legislation and now has a chance to more effectively debate the merits of health care reform and cap and trade.