Blue Dogs agree to deal on healthcare

The agreement reportedly means the House will not vote on a reform bill until after its recess

By Alex Koppelman
Published July 29, 2009 5:15PM (EDT)

It's taken quite a while, but House Democratic leaders have apparently come to an agreement with the conservative Blue Dog coalition within their party on moving healthcare reform legislation forward.

So far, there are no details on any actual policy aspects of the deal -- it appears more political than anything else.

Under the terms of the deal, the full House will not vote on a reform bill until after it returns from a five-week recess that begins at the end of this week. In exchange, the Energy and Commerce Committee can begin debating and marking up the bill as early as Wednesday afternoon.

The committee's work on the bill has been delayed for more than a week due to resistance from Blue Dogs, who oppose some of the more liberal aspects of the Democratic healthcare plan.

Update: Energy and Commerce Commitee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have now confirmed the deal and the delay.

Additionally, Roll Call has some sketchy details on the policy side of the deal from Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., who heads up the Blue Dogs' healthcare task force. According to the paper, "the deal would cut more than $100 billion from the Democratic health bill, increase exemptions for small businesses and prevent the public insurance option from basing reimbursements on Medicare rates."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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