MA SEN: Will The House Pass The Senate Bill?

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Good luck with that! Not only will a Brown victory make moderates even more skittish about health care, but it will probably fortify the ten or so Democrats who've said they will under no circumstances support the Senate bill's abortion language. Plain language: Democrats don't have the votes in the House to pass the Senate bill, and they don't trust the Senate enough to "fix" the bill through the reconciliation process later on.

In any event, if, through some combination of White House pressure and magic the House CAN pass the Senate health care bill within the next few days, the circumstances surrounding its passage will not redound to the benefit of Democrats. Liberals will be angry -- and they'll be even angrier at the White House's austerity budget that's due Feb. 1. And they'll be even ANGRIER when they realize that the White House will redouble their efforts to make peace with Republicans on budgetary and spending issues.

I'm not in the habit of predicting what the circular firing squad is going to sound like on Wednesday should Brown win, but it is certainly no understatement to call the race a true upset, to call it a definite sign of trouble for the majority party, to question whether Democrats can really get anything done before November.  The White House's clumsy but necessary  economic populism platform is wafer thin; the truth is -- and the White House knows this -- the quickest way out of the Great Recession was for the government to spend a lot of money and use its power to prevent big institutions from failing. These were unpopular decisions, and they can't be rectified by a few bones here and there.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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