Obama: Use House More, Senate Less

The Senate's not all it's cracked up to be
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2009 10:06 AM CDT
President Barack Obama, right, embraces Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., before speaking during a fundraiser for Democratic House and Senate candidates, Thursday, June 18, 2009.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama may come to regret using House Democrats as “expendable shock troops” in his battle to pass health care reform, writes David Rogers of Politico. Obama has focused on the Senate as his crucible of compromise, but the House—bolstered by a Rules Committee able to test competing reform options—is a better venue for complex, multi-faceted issues like health care. Besides, the Senate ain’t what it used to be.

The Senate’s become “like the House—only a more dysfunctional version,” says Rogers. Nearly half its members are ex-House members, and all are just as embroiled in non-stop campaigning as their lower-chamber counterparts. The House features a bigger, more diverse Democratic caucus, and it would take a truly centrist bill to unite it. If Pelosi abandoned the shock troop mentality, she could call votes on individual proposals like the public option, forging a true consensus.