"Internal debates over the direction of the Democratic Party intensified Wednesday following a devastating electoral loss in Massachusetts," The Hill writes. "In the aftermath, liberals immediately began to argue that Scott Brown's win shows the party has not delivered on the change promised by President Barack Obama, while centrists and conservatives worried the result shows voters are disillusioned with leftward moves made by Congress."
"With the rubble of the Democratic collapse in Massachusetts still smoldering Wednesday, House Democratic leaders paused to let the smoke clear and assess the damage to their already-weakened political prospects," Roll Call adds.
"Like a dazed boxer taking an eight-count, Democrats say they need time to recover from the devastating blow they suffered when Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday," The Hill writes. "They made clear on Wednesday, however, that they are not giving up. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on CNBC Wednesday that healthcare reform is 'not dead by any means.'"
Let the walk backs begin: Barney Frank, who said health care was "dead" now that Republicans have a 41st vote on health care, took it back. "I have realized that my statement last night was more pessimistic than is called for, although I still regard the fact that the Republicans have now elected a 41st Senator as a serious obstacle to getting health care done," Frank said in a release, per The Hill.
Call it the Senate bill plus reconciliation option? Clyburn seemed to indicate that reconciliation should be used. And the AFL-CIO supports it. "One scenario under consideration would have House Democrats pass the Senate bill as is, paired with a separate bill formed under reconciliation rules carving out changes to the healthcare bill that House and Senate Democrats had previously negotiated," The Hill writes.
Roll Call writes that the reconciliation option is gaining steam, and notes that Max Baucus could be central again.
"Eight of the nation's largest banks spent nearly $26 million lobbying federal lawmakers in 2009, during one of the most tumultuous periods in financial history. The banks spent nearly 6 percent more on federal lobbying last year compared with 2008, according to a review of congressional lobbying records," The Hill writes. "The banks spent $25.8 million on lobbying in 2009 and $24.4 million in 2008, the two years at the heart of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."
Schumer's approval erosion? "The poll had Schumer's negative rating at 42 percent, where it has been for months in Marist -- but his approval rating was at 51 percent, one of his lowest in that survey in recent years, and down from 58 percent in September," the New York Post writes, adding, "Insiders say Schumer is watching the national trend for any implications for himself -- and in a clear signal of anxiety, he was one of the first out of the box with a statement after the Massachusetts election acknowledging the anger among voters at the ruling party."