Lieberman Won’t Budge on Health Care
Posted on Nov 23, 2009
Sen. Joseph Lieberman says he will never let any form of public option—opt-out, trigger or otherwise—through the Senate, citing budget concerns. This—despite CBO estimates showing the health reform bill reducing the deficit over 10 years—from a senator who has thrown billions at boondoggles throughout his career.
Keep in mind that the Democrats don’t need Lieberman to actually vote for the bill. They simply need him to vote with the party to end debate. It’s for situations like this that the Democrats have allowed Lieberman to keep his committee chairmanship and protected him from retribution despite his many betrayals. Because on the big votes—you know, the things Democrats have spent decades fighting for—he’s supposed to hold his nose and deliver.
Something, it seems, he rarely does. The Wall Street Journal speculates that if Lieberman won’t bend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will. Or maybe the Democrats will finally do something about the shameless opportunist in their midst. —PZS
Wall Street Journal:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, speaking in that trademark sonorous baritone, utters a simple statement that translates into real trouble for Democratic leaders: “I’m going to be stubborn on this.”
Stubborn, he means, in opposing any health-care overhaul that includes a “public option,” or government-run health-insurance plan, as the current bill does. His opposition is strong enough that Mr. Lieberman says he won’t vote to let a bill come to a final vote if a public option is included.
Probe for a catch or caveat in that opposition, and none is visible. Can he support a public option if states could opt out of the plan, as the current bill provides? “The answer is no,” he says in an interview from his Senate office. “I feel very strongly about this.” How about a trigger, a mechanism for including a public option along with a provision saying it won’t be used unless private insurance plans aren’t spreading coverage far and fast enough? No again.
Flickr / matthewnstoller