10/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Daily Pulse: Deep Six the Gang of Six

By Lindsay Beyerstein, TMC MediaWire Blogger

Ed. note: The Weekly Pulse is becoming the Daily Pulse for September. Every weekday, we'll bring you highlights from the health care reform debate, including exclusive video interviews with leading experts and independent journalists each Friday. Even better, you can be a part of the conversation. Stay tuned to find out more!

A power shift is underway in Washington. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick announced on Monday that a special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy would not take place until January 19, 2010. With Kennedy's seat empty, the Democrats no longer have the 60 votes they need to break a filibuster in the Senate. Up until this point, the White House was hoping for a compromise bill that the entire Democratic caucus, and maybe even a few Republicans, could agree on.

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly notes that the Gang of Six has made itself irrelevant. These powerful members of the Senate Finance Committee were in charge of hammering out a bipartisan health care bill. They forgot that they were only powerful if people believed a bipartisan compromise was attainable.

Talking Points Memo reports that the White House has given up on Republican gangster Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). They finally got the hint when Enzi told a radio listeners that Democrats wanted to kill the elderly with comparative efficacy research. The White House should have cut its losses two weeks ago when Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) repeated the "death panel" meme at a town hall meeting. Grassley has also been raising money campaigning against "Obama-care."

It's looking more and more like the Democrats will have to look to budget reconciliation, a special parliamentary procedure that could sidestep a filibuster and pass a health care bill by a simple majority vote.

In Salon, Robert Reich pleads with the congressional Democrats to instill some party discipline in their caucus.

America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's top lobby group, dispatched 50,000 employees to town halls to fight the public option. Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones took a cue from Michael Moore in Sicko. She asks AHIP what kind of insurance their top lobbyist has. Mencimer says AHIP was so standoffish you'd think she had a preexisting condition.

In Mother Jones, Ben Buchwalter and Nikki Gloudeman take a closer look at the corporate megabucks behind the town hall brawls. Corporate enemies of healthcare reform are using front groups like FreedomWorks to organize angry mobs at town hall meetings. Zach Roth of TPM Muckraker reports that "legendary GOP bamboozler" Howard Kaloogian has launched a tea party bus tour to protest healthcare reform.

Speaking of frauds, you've probably heard about so-called crisis pregnancy centers that pose as abortion clinics in order to cajole women into having babies. Ever wonder what happens to those babies? In the Nation, Kathryn Joyce goes inside the world of high-pressure Christian adoption agencies that support desperate women, as long as they promise to give up their babies.

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