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.