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No Rest For The Weary As Health Care Moves To The Senate

LA Times on Reid's timing: 'Reid is hoping to bring the issue before the Senate in a week or so, but he has yet to put the finishing touches on the bill that will be the starting point of debate "

Politico notes Reid is waiting on the CBO: "The negotiations have since slowed precipitously as Reid waits for Congressional Budget Office estimates ... The CBO isn’t expected to deliver cost estimates of the Senate bill until the end of this week. If senators aren’t able to bring the bill to the floor until after Thanksgiving, they would have only four weeks to debate the most sweeping legislation in 40 years, vote on it, merge it with the House version, wait for another round of CBO estimates and move it back through both chambers on final passage."

Abortion fight not over. W. Post: "Although House liberals voted for the bill with the amendment to keep the process moving forward, Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.) said she has collected more than 40 signatures from House Democrats vowing to oppose any final bill that includes the amendment -- enough to block passage."

Politico explores how the anti-abortion amendment got passed: "t wasn’t just that [Speaker Pelosi] was disappointing some members over a last-minute change they disagreed with. She had to take on her closest and senior-most lieutenants on an issue that for many of them is like an article of faith, a defining tenet of what makes them a Democrat. And when she needed the votes, that’s what she did ... in the end ... pro-abortion-rights lawmakers weren’t willing to derail the entire health care bill over the issue."

The Treatment's Jonathan Cohn praises the House over the Senate: "Do not be fooled by the Beltway conventional wisdom, which has repeatedly treated House legislation as inferior to its counterpart in the Senate. If anything, the opposite is true ... Republicans have repeatedly mocked the House bill because of its length. But there is a reason the bill needs so many pages: It's the product of thinking carefully about how best to design a health care system ... for example, the all-important question of how to design insurance exchanges--the House bill holds up extremely well. And the bill pays for itself--not just in the first ten years, as the original version did, but in the future, as well. It may not do as much to reduce the overall cost of health care as the Senate bill would; in the view of most experts, that's the House bill's chief weakness. But it at least makes moves in the direction of cost-control."

NYT on special interest grousing: "Insurers do not like the provision to create a new government-run insurance program. Drug makers oppose billions of dollars in rebates they would have to give to the government over 10 years. Makers of artificial hips, heart defibrillators and other medical devices are not particularly happy about the proposed 2.5 percent tax on their products. And employers large and small oppose rules that, for many of them, would make health care coverage — long a job benefit — become a federally mandated obligation. That is why, as attention now shifts to the Senate, where Democratic leaders are trying to merge two bills into one, virtually every business group with a stake in the outcome will be hoping to strike at least a slightly better deal than they found in the House version."

Some new congresspeople aren't wimps. Politico: "For [first-term and second-term swing-district Reps.] Perriello, Kilroy, Driehaus and Space, the health care bill represented their second exceptionally tough vote this year — the other was on the cap-and-trade bill — meaning they’ve essentially doubled down on the ambitious national Democratic agenda. New York Democratic Rep. Bill Owens, who was sworn into office earlier this week ... [also] voted for Saturday’s bill after holding an ambiguous position regarding a public option."

Baucus To Work His Magic On Climate Bill

With Boxer cmte done, now it's Baucus' and Bingaman's turn. ClimateWire: "Tomorrow, the Finance and Energy and Natural Resources committees dive into the issue with a pair of simultaneous hearings on climate policy. On Finance, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will study the job implications of global warming legislation ... he may hold a markup this year on the trade provisions of a climate bill and address how to distribute greenhouse gas emission allowances ... Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) will lead a wide-ranging discussion on legislation options for tackling climate change ... ponsors remain about 15 to 20 votes shy of the 60 needed to break a filibuster. And some of the key senators who sit on the Finance panel are either on the fence or close to it, including Bingaman, Rockefeller, Lincoln, and Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Wall Street Keeps Shoveling Out The Bonus Money

Three major banks doling out $30B in record bonuses. Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment bank, survivors of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, are set to pay record bonuses this year. The firms -- the three biggest banks to exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program -- will hand out $29.7 billion in bonuses, according to analysts’ estimates. That’s up 60 percent from last year and more than the previous high of $26.8 billion in 2007. The money, split among 119,000 employees, equals $250,400 each, almost five times the $50,303 median household income in the U.S. last year..."

US, UK split over taxing financial transactionx to curb speculation: "Group of 20 governments signaled banks will be forced to cover a greater cost of future bailouts even as they split over whether that should be achieved by taxing financial trading ... [British PM Gordon] Brown repeated his call for nations to consider the financial-transaction tax ... Geithner responded that a 'day-by-day' tax on speculation is 'not something we’re prepared to support.'"

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