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Congress: Committee passes health bill

A key House committee, Energy and Commerce, passed health care late Friday night 31-28. The House went on recess Friday and now has off for August. The Senate continues to try and hammer out a deal. It goes on vacation this upcoming Friday. 

The Boston Globe: "Democrats and the White House have spent much of the last year flaunting the newfound cooperation of old enemies like drug companies and the insurance industry. But now they face a new political calculus. The House left Washington on Friday afternoon without a floor vote on a overhaul, the Senate, which leaves this Friday, is even farther behind."

Video: Dan Balz, Haynes Johnson, former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn., and former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., discuss President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul the U.S. health industry with NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press."

Without Senate approval of the $2 billion more for "Cash for Clunkers," the program would have to be suspended, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday. 

And Republican Senators like John McCain and Jim DeMint are vowing to lead the charge against more "Clunkers" funding.


Video: Car buyers eager to trade in old gas guzzlers for new fuel-efficient cars jammed into crowded auto sales showrooms on Saturday, hoping to take advantage of the program before it runs out of money. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

Republican Orrin Hatch explained why he pulled out of talks with the Senate Finance Committee on health care: "'I think Baucus could negotiate a good deal but they won't let him, he's constrained,' Hatch said of pressure on Baucus from President Barack Obama, Democratic leaders and liberal members of the Senate caucus. 'The Democrats want a public option and they're going to have a public option in the final bill," Hatch said in reference to a proposal to create a broad government-run insurance program. He predicted that even if Baucus manages to pass a healthcare reform package with a membership-run co-op insurance plan instead of a government-run program, he would lose out to liberals in negotiations between the Senate and House. He'll be crushed in the middle.' Hatch added that he believes "Democrats are intent on creating a system of 'socialized medicine' in the United States." 
NRA fires back... "In the face of a Democratic- controlled Congress and executive branch, the National Rifle Association is moving aggressively to push pro-gun legislation to the top of the Congressional agenda," Roll Call reports. "Working to maintain its pro-gun Democratic supporters, the NRA has been strategically pushing for Senators to add pro-gun amendments to high-profile legislation, including a provision that would have loosened D.C.'s gun control laws on a voting rights bill and adding conceal-and-carry language to the Defense authorization bill." 

Liberals v. Nelson, continued... "A liberal activist working with an advocacy group founded by former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has attacked Nelson as 'bought and paid for by health and insurance interests' and suggested he is 'corrupt' and 'out of touch.'"
Some Republicans are questioning Spencer Bachus' fitness as ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee after an altercation between Bachus and committee chairman Barney Frank as well as continuing to say that, politically, it's difficult for Republicans to oppose executive compensation limits, but also arguing against them.