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Congress: Groundhog's Day

"After months on life support, the public option died Tuesday," The Hill writes. "The White House and House leaders on Tuesday pronounced the government-run health program dead even as some Democratic senators continued their effort to resurrect it. The move is a clear indication that President Barack Obama and leading Democrats are wary of another intra-party battle on the public option. Last year, Democrats lost valuable time debating the issue, leading to many missed deadlines."

Yet it's unclear progressives will choose to move on and take what's possible. (After all, 23 votes doesn't make a majority, right?)

Progressive groups pushing for "real health care reform" by passing health care through reconciliation descend today for a "Virtual March on Washington" "to send Congress one million messages urging action on health care reform. This will be the single largest day of action yet in the health care fight," organizers say. The coalition includes MoveOn.org Political Action, Progressive Congress Action Fund, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Physicians Alliance, Doctors for America, Campaign for America's Future, TrueMajority, USAction, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), EQUAL, MomsRising.org and FixItandPassIt.com. The group will be sending members of Congress messages via phone, fax, email, Facebook, Twitter and petition.

"As Washington plays politics as usual instead of fixing our broken system, people are dying," according to a press release for the group. "Americans simply cannot wait for comprehensive health care reform -- it's time for Congress to stand up to Big Insurance and their conservative allies, and get reform done right. During the Virtual March for Real Health Care Reform, we'll send a million messages to Congress to make sure they know that voters want them to get to work and get health care done. Our message is simple: It's time for Washington to stop stalling. Pass real health care reform now."

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor penned a memo on why he believes Obama's health care proposal won't pass: He cites House vacancies, abortion, reconciliation, and retirements. "Over the last few weeks, we have watched with great interest, and disbelief, as Democrats have doubled-down on their ideological, government-centric approach to health reform," he writes. "Instead of listening to the American people, not to mention members of their own party, President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid are back advocating a proposal that increases health care costs, places onerous mandates on struggling businesses, raises taxes on working families, and will lead to many losing the coverage options they have now. Even the president's own Health Reform Director, Nancy-Ann DeParle, told reporters yesterday that their proposal is merely the Senate bill 'with targeted changes.'" 

What Can You Do For Brown: "In the last 19 days of the race, nearly 70 percent of the 12,773 contributors who gave more than $200 to the Brown campaign were from outside Massachusetts, a Globe review shows. By contrast, in the first 109 days of Brown's candidacy, when he was still considered a dark horse, less than 8 percent of Brown's 1,766 contributions of more than $200 were from out-of-staters." 

"Scott Brown's decision to buck GOP leadership and back Senate majority leader Harry Reid's stripped-down jobs bill Monday is playing to a mixed reaction and wildly mixed emotions among conservatives," the Boston Globe writes. "Dozens of angry messages filled his Twitter page and Facebook page, charging the Massachusetts senator with everything from being "another out-of-touch politician'' to 'Benedict Brown.'" Michelle Malkin took aim at him; others "responded with more of a shrug."

Brown's vote got praise from the Boston Globe's editorial page, which called it a "welcome step." "Given the stranglehold that the Senate filibuster rule imposes on any legislation, there's good reason to keep rooting for compromise. Brown seems to realize that this form of frustration -- the yearning for solutions -- supersedes the 'tea party' -- inspired attempts to tie up government. It bodes well for his Senate career."

"The lone Republican lawmaker to support Democratic health care legislation has seen his fundraising drop by nearly 40 percent since his vote, and he is quickly burning through a dwindling bank account after resorting to a costly national fundraising operation," AP writes. "Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the unlikely congressman from New Orleans, is facing the perils of bipartisanship unlike any other lawmaker in Washington -- trying to please a heavily Democratic constituency while relying on core conservatives for money to fuel his campaign."