Lieberman Looms Large in Senate Health Debate
Posted on Dec 14, 2009
If it didn’t look like Senate Democrats were going to face some serious obstacles in passing health care reform legislation, Sen. Joe Lieberman is poised and ready to remind them, as he proved this past weekend with his ongoing rumblings to the press about joining the apparently inevitable Republican filibuster. Sen. Harry Reid and his cohort have their work cut out for them. —KA
Reacting last week to expanding Medicare as part of the proposed compromise, Lieberman said he would “look at it,” but added the Senate health care bill already included subsidies to help people 55 and older buy insurance coverage before they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.
“I want to make sure we’re not adding a big additional burden to the Medicare program, which we need to figure out how to save, because it’s going bankrupt,” Lieberman said then.
On Sunday, Lieberman bluntly stated he would join the GOP filibuster if the bill included the provision to expand Medicare. In response, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN that the “Democratic leadership was shocked about how strident Lieberman was in his opposition to the Medicare proposal when he went on the Sunday shows.”
However, Lieberman spokesman Marshall Wittmann told CNN on Monday that Lieberman first informed Reid last week of his concern about expanding Medicare.
“Sen. Reid knew that problem could lead him to vote against this bill,” Wittmann said. “He informed Reid of that Friday.”
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Playing to the right?: Sen. Joe Lieberman, who formerly ran with the Democratic crowd before becoming independent, arrives at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.