Congressional Democrats are backing away from healthcare reform promises made by their two presidential candidates, saying that even if their party controls the White House and Congress, sweeping change will be difficult.
It is still seven months before Election Day, but already senior Democrats are maneuvering to lower public expectations on the key policy issue.
In the back of their minds is the damage done to President Bush's second term by his failed attempts to change the nation's Social Security policy.
For some senators, the promises made by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) outside of Washington may not match the political reality on Capitol Hill.
"We all know there is not enough money to do all this stuff," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a Finance Committee member and an Obama supporter, referring to the presidential candidates' healthcare plans. "What they are doing is … laying out their ambitions." [...]
Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a member of Senate Democratic leadership and a key Hillary Clinton ally who also sits on the Finance Committee, said he is "not sure we have the big plan on healthcare."
"Healthcare I feel strongly about, but I am not sure that we're ready for a major national healthcare plan," Schumer said.
[H/T to 2MillionLightYearsToAndromeda]