|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday abandoned plans for a vote on health care before Congress' August recess, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's ambitious timetable to revamp the nation's $2.4 trillion system of medical care.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., delivered the official pronouncement, saying, "It's better to have a product based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than try to jam something through."
His words were a near-echo of Republicans who have criticized what they have called a rush to act on complex legislation that affects every American.
Obama shrugged off the delay.
"That's OK, I just want people to keep on working," Obama told a town hall meeting in Cleveland. "I want it done by the end of the year. I want it done by the fall."
Reid said the Senate Finance Committee will act on its portion of the bill before lawmakers' monthlong break. Reid then will merge that bill with separate legislation passed by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee earlier this month.
The process will be difficult since Finance, led by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is seeking a bipartisan deal while the health committee bill was passed by Democrats on a party-line vote.
Obama had pushed for votes in the House and Senate before August to ensure that lawmakers had enough time to meld the two bills into comprehensive legislation by December — before the start of a politically charged congressional election year.
Obama has made nearly daily appeals for the overhaul in the past two weeks and has summoned more than a dozen lawmakers to the White House to make his case. At stake is a massive remaking of the system. So is Obama's credibility.