Kent Conrad Is Up To Something

Kent Conrad appears to be playing tricks with the CBO with the goal of stalling healthcare reform. Again. This is the second time in as many weeks, and even Max Baucus is pissed off.

He's insisting that there be a full scoring of the Finance Committee bill before there's a vote, even though a preliminary scoring would be finished within days of the bill's completion.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) indicated today that there may be major delays in the health care process going forward. During today's health care hearing, he told CBO chief Doug Elmendorf today that the Senate Finance Committee must be provided with a complete CBO score of the final package before the panel can hold a vote on it.

That's sabotage. It's two weeks during which all varieties of insanity could occur. Baucus said:

"The box we're in, we pass legislation, we've got to cool our heals for up to two to three weeks before we know the final [score]?" Baucus asked incredulously. "That's unacceptable, you've got to help us get out of this box."

Of course there's an upside. If the Finance bill sucks, well then okay. But for now, it looks like it might end up being decent enough to move forward in preparation for being merged with the HELP bill.