It’s a lovely summer afternoon here in Little Rock, and the Arkansas Project finds itself suffused with the spirit of warm generosity, for the moment. It’s a strange and sickening feeling.
So let’s all raise a glass to Democratic Rep. Mike Ross, who rules the massive Fourth District of Arkansas with an iron hand, and who has been making waves this week in the health care reform debate.
Ross has been giving the Obama administration and the Democratic House leadership headaches, telling them he and his Blue Dog Democrat pals might just shut down that precious health care bill, see, unless some changes are made. (Arkansas News Bureau columnist John Brummett has a few bullets on what changes the Blue Dogs might like to see.)
A Congressional Budget Office report released Thursday warns of insanely high costs from the legislation. Ross tells the Wall Street Journal:
“We have to take steps to hold health-care costs to the rate of inflation, or we will never balance our federal budget again and health-insurance costs will continue to become less and less affordable for the American people,” said Arkansas Democratic Rep. Mike Ross. Mr. Ross is a leading member of the Blue Dogs, a moderate faction of the party’s caucus that counts more than 50 members and has a crucial say over whether health-care legislation will pass. Mr. Elmendorf’s comments, he said, “only underscore what the Blue Dogs have been saying all along.”
A friend points out that, if nothing else, Ross and the Blue Dogs are slowing down action on the bill and forcing people to take a closer look.
Will Ross et al. hold the line? We’ll see. If he should cave on this, I reserve the right to take this all back and heap opprobrium upon him. We’ll consider this qualified praise, for the time being.