Rarely does the government, that big, clumsy, poorly regarded oaf, pull off anything short of war that touches all lives with one act, one stroke of a president's pen. Such a moment now seems near.
After a year of riotous argument, decades of failure and a century of spoiled hopes, the United States is reaching for a system of medical care that extends coverage nearly to all citizens. The change that's coming, if Sunday's tussle in the House goes President Barack Obama's way, would reshape a sixth of the economy and shatter the status quo.
To the ardent liberal, Obama's health care plan is a shadow of what should have been, sapped by dispiriting downsizing and trade-offs.
To the loud foe on the right, it is a dreadful expansion of the nanny state.
To history, it is likely to be judged alongside the boldest acts of presidents and Congress in the pantheon of domestic affairs. Think of the guaranteed federal pensions of Social Security, socialized medicine for the old and poor, the civil rights remedies to inequality.
I'm not certain I like it any better when the AP is calling Obama 'bold' any more than I did when they repeatedly referred to Dubya with that adjective. "Bold" didn't appropriately portray the decision to go to war on false pretenses, to say nothing about unintended (?) consequences like torture and warrantless wiretapping and so on.
Judging by the frothing insanity of conservatives' latest behavior, however, he must be bold as hell.
Here's the latest schedule associated with the legislation ...
From the House Democratic Caucus meeting, this from House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT). He says "shortly after 2, we will have an hour of debate on the rule." This is the rule to allow reconcilation to get to the floor.
They would then vote on the rule, sans deem and pass. He then says there will then be "two hours of debate on the bill."
Larson did not elude to passing the Senate bill later. But he did say they would do this "in the light of day."
In conclusion, Larson added that the Senate bill "will become law tomorrow evening with the president's signature."
If you're trying to time your watching or your DVR-ing, that would be debate on the rule of reconciliation beginning "shortly after" 1:00-2:00 p.m. CDT, that vote followed by two hours of debate on the bill itself (2-4 p.m. Central), and then on to the thrilling conclusion.