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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pete, Don't Come-A-Knockin' When Health Care Is Rockin'

The nation may have an agreement on health care reform in the very near future, but Rep. Pete Stark is not part of negotiations between House and Senate Democrats, The Hill reports.

The negotiating team opted to cap the number of lawmakers at six, but the long-time East Bay congressman, who has played an influential role in passing health care reform in the House was left out in the cold. According to The Hill, those not included by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are taking it in stride, but a quote from Stark and his office is noticeably absent.

Those who did get the golden ticket are Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.).

During the second day of negotiations that hope to knit together a bill for the president to sign, moderate Democrats appear to be winning concessions. According to The New York Times, a Senate proposal to enact an excise tax on so-called "Cadillac" health care packages has won over the House's 5.4 percent tax on high-earning Americans.

The inclusion of Stark in any negotiations depending on your view, would have pushed a minority view more ardently or the will of moderates pushed him to the sidelines. Stark, in the past, has favored more liberal plans to reform health care, albeit, short of his constituencies desire for the public option.
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