The tortuous congressional wrangling over health care reform has enhanced the public profile and the clout of the band of Democratic House moderates known as Blue Dogs.
The coalition, formed in 1994 in the wake of a Republican takeover of the House — and another attempt at health care overhaul — was formed by Democrats from the South and is still widely thought of as a Southern phenomenon. But five Pennsylvania Democrats, nearly half of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, are members of the increasingly powerful caucus.
That’s more than any single Southern state’s roster on the 52-member group. That fact sheds light on the state’s potential impact on the signature issue of the Obama administration, and helps explain why Pennsylvania’s reputation and potential as a classic swing state endures despite five straight Democratic successes in capturing its electoral votes.
Published by Lindsay Renick Mayer on June 25, 2009 5:28 PM
There’s a particular breed of lawmaker on Capitol Hill that is pushing hard against a public health care plan, much to the delight of two seriously moneyed special interest groups–insurers and pharmaceuticals. They’re the Blue Dogs: moderate, vocal and funded in part by the industries trying to protect their bottom line.
The typical member* of the Blue Dog caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has received $10,300 more from insurers than the typical non-Blue Dog Democrat in the House (including health and accident insurers, HMOs and other health services) and only $3,625 less than the typical House Republican. Earlier this month, the Blue Dogs sent a letter to House leadership arguing that a public option should be created “only if insurance market reforms and increased competition don’t lower costs on their own,” according to the Politico.