The Big Picture

Another week goes by and Democrats still have not unveiled a bill that will get to the floor of either the House or the Senate.

Time is growing short, even though Halloween is still just over a week away, because as we have discussed here before, days off in November for Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving will really shorten that month.

The House and Senate are definitely at different points in this debate.  Democrats in the House are closing in on a final bill - at least that's what they say in public.

"We are at a place where the level of respect for everyone's point of view has increased," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, adding "that people are listening to each other."

In the Senate, it is still early, but you can tell that Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to force action with days and days of closed door meetings among Democrats.

I can definitely see a scenario where the House votes on health reform in November, maybe right before breaking for Thanksgiving.

The Senate is a whole 'nother story.

The procedural defeat of the "Doc Fix" bill this week should be a reminder for Reid and his lieutenants that things can go awry in the Senate awful fast.

And right now, Reid really only has one vote to spare.  It only takes Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snowe to walk, and Reid only has 59 votes, instead of 60 or 61.

And who knows about Sen. Robert Byrd.  He is looking better at age 91, but his health probably means he won't be around for all the votes, and certainly nothing late in the evening.

I spoke with one Republican lawmaker yesterday who said he was doing his homework and trying to read through the entire bill produced by the Senate Finance Committee.

He excitedly told me about some provision that clearly spelled out rationing and more supposedly dastardly health care plans, telling me the section number and more.

But when I went to look for that, I couldn't find it.

Maybe the big picture is that we're all so punch drunk and tired of this issue, that we are all seeing things.

I'll take Liberal Republicans for $200.

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