Rangel: "Serious problem" with healthcare talks

Congressman says a final bill isn't likely to be ready until next month

Published January 13, 2010 2:38PM (EST)

Democrats are already months behind where they wanted to be on healthcare reform. According to their initial schedule, they should have been done by now. But now, one senior House Democrat said Tuesday, things might drag on even longer.

"We've got a problem on both sides of the Capitol. A serious problem," Roll Call quotes Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., as saying. “Normally you’re just dealing with the Senate and they talk about 60 votes and you listen to them and cave in, but this is entirely different. I’m telling you that never has 218 been so important to me in the House.”

Roll Call's reporting that the negotiators working on ironing out the differences between the Senate and House bills "are not likely to have a final bill until February." That means not finishing until after President Obama delivers the State of the Union.

There are policy differences at work here, but some of the problems may be more about personal politics than anything else: House members seem, for instance, to be resentful of the process in the Senate and the various elements of the bill included to win over tough votes like Sens. Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Charlie Rangel D-n.y. Healthcare Reform