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Sep. 28 2009 - 10:47 am | 39 views | 0 recommendations | 12 comments

Democrats assemble the circular firing-squad on the Public Option

This is kind of funny. The Senate Finance Committee is going to vote this week on an amendment that would add a public option to their health care bill. If you are a Democrat, it sounds good so far, right? But the authors of the amendment, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), have stated that they know the amendment will not pass in the committee. So why are they forcing an amendment that will only serve to embarrass their fellow Democrats? Well, to embarrass their fellow Democrats, of course.

The spotlight this week will continue on the Senate Finance Committee, where amendments to add the public insurance option will be offered by Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.). . . .

The Finance committee votes, which could come as early as this week, promise to be discomfiting for both liberals and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the embattled chairman of the Finance panel who is likely to vote against them. . . .

Rockefeller, Schumer and likeminded liberal senators begrudgingly acknowledge the votes are not there in the committee for the public option.

But they intend to force their colleagues to take a stand on the issue and possibly face the wrath of powerful interests such as labor unions and grassroots liberal activists.

So the Democrats are throwing their own guys overboard like chum to the union sharks. Sounds good to me. This is a Republican dream-plan being executed by Liberals.

And the Democrats’ problems are just beginning in the Senate Finance Committee. The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will have a strong public option in its bill and Harry Reid will have to decide what goes to the floor for a final vote. Will it be the public option, co-ops, or something else? The centrist Dems will jump ship on the public option and the liberals will accept nothing short of one.

Then there is the problem in the House.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn’t having any easier a time despite having a large majority dominated by liberals. The centrist voting bloc, led by the Blue Dog coalition, is holding its ground against the public option. . . .

It’s not clear whether Pelosi will have the votes to win a healthcare vote on the floor if the public option is not included in the bill. But it’s also not clear she’ll win a vote with the public option, since Republicans are expected to vote en masse against the bill.

I would simply advise that if the Democrats are going to go with the circular firing squad, they should be sure to take careful aim.


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  1. collapse expand

    I really don’t think we need Dems need your advice Bill, but it’s kind of you to offer. We’re doing just fine, thanks.

    • collapse expand

      We Republicans are just in the bleachers throwing popcorn. Don’t mind us. Carry on as you were.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Throwing popcorn is fine, but tell your whackos to leave their guns at home, thanks.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        The cuts you are referring to are targeted to the Medicare Advantage program because it costs the government more each and every year while providing more problems with dropped doctors and emergency aid. This year it will cost us over 11 billion dollars extra over traditional medicare. The program was initiated to lower costs by allowing the private insurance companies to sign up eligible elders. The idea, like the philosophy now being proposed, is that only the private sector can reduce costs so heath insurers should get taxpayers money. The experiment failed. Other cuts were proposed in wasteful management but the savings were not to disappear but go back into the program. AARP supports these “cuts”. What you did not mention was that these savings are to be over five years and are supposed to be made up by doing what Republicans have supported over the years: find the money in waste and fraud.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Mr. Dupray,

    The key variable in this equation is attitude of the constituents of the Democrats in question. If the public option amendment is introduced and if the Democrats on the committee vote it down, then those Democrats are only trouble if their constituents favor the public option. If their constituents do not favor the public option, there is no down side for them. What Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Schummer are betting is that the opposite is the case. If they are correct, then their maneuver will not help the Republicans as any Republican opponent who might run against these Democrats would be against the public option and since the constituents in question favor the public option, well, nothing lost.

  3. collapse expand

    This is the strategy that Johnston used to get Medicare passed, you remember Medicare…its that program that your party has recently discovered, the one they now want to protect after voting time and again for cuts.

  4. collapse expand

    So these Senators are responding to the wishes of their constituents, and you find that “kind of funny”? I thought I was a cynic, but my cynicism cannot compare; I doff my cap to you, sir. Why do you hate democracy?

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    About Me

    I am a lawyer afflicted with a consuming desire to analyze and debate politics.

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    Contributor Since: September 2009