Health Care Reform news from Huffington Post earlier this week makes me wonder....
"Mike Enzi, one of three Republicans ostensibly negotiating health care reform as part of the Senate's "Gang of Six,*" told a Wyoming town hall crowd that he had no plans to compromise with Democrats and was merely trying to extract concessions."
Enzi is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and also serves on the Committee on Finance , the Committee on Budget, and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senator Edward Kennedy (deceased) was Chair of the Committee.
Looking at Enzi's Senate page, with a lead article this week on how it is not in the Democrat's best interests to shut out Republicans and moderate Democrats, one would think Enzi is interested in actually working towards compromise.
"U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., today said that if the White House and Democrat leadership in the Senate choose to shut Republicans and moderate Democrats out of the health care debate, their health care plan would fail."
So what part of compromise does Enzi not understand? Compromise, often defined as mutual concessions, can be a bit more than that. Compromise can be brought about by reflection/examination of one's initial viewpoint, research on claims by each side, and subsequent adjustment of what one perceived as the barriers to agreement. It's good compromise if it means one does not give up one's principles in the process. Just giving in is not compromise, it's giving up.
The Finance Committee is reviewing health care reform to supposedly see where it can move the bill forward. That requires some compromise by both sides. Enzi, however, isn't interested in compromise.
The American public has been voicing its opinion, loudly and clearly, that there are certain points they don't want to compromise on. Are legislators listening?
A few members of Congress, and a lot of other people, have spent too much time distorting the content of the bill. Now, powerful members of Congress who know those are distortions don't even bother to correct them. They prefer that Americans believe the distortions so these legislators can look as if they serve them. What would serve the American public better than the bare truth on what is in the bill and what is not?
Give the public some credit. If legislators' concern is over a cost/benefit analysis, help us destroy the myths and distortions, get the truth out, and then engage in a real conversation with constituents over what they want.
Oh, and as far as serving the American public, see the paragraph below on the Gang of Six...
* The "Gang of Six" is a group of 3 Republican and 3 Democratic Senators on the Senate Committee on Finance that wants to slow down the process of health care reform in the name of better studying the costs and benefits. Collectively, the Gang of Six represents about 2.6 percent of the American public, yet are significantly delaying legislation that affects almost all Americans at some point. See Robert Reich's blog post, Why the Gang of Six is Deciding Health Care for Three Hundred Million of Us. Members are Senators Max Barkus (D-MO), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Charles Grassley (R-IA and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee),and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).