Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 29, 2009

SILVER LINING.... Developments this afternoon in the Senate Finance Committee were hardly ideal -- after extensive debate, two separate amendments on the public option were defeated.

And yet, about an hour ago, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) declared, "The public option is on the march." Wishful thinking? Maybe, but it's worth taking a moment to acknowledge that the news today, while discouraging, was not all bad.

For one thing, it seems pretty clear that the Senate Finance Committee will, in all likelihood, pass a health care reform bill, almost certainly this week. That tells us that once the Baucus bill is merged with the Senate HELP Committee bill, reform legislation will be headed to the Senate floor for the first time. The goal of getting the entire initiative finished by Thanksgiving is still entirely attainable.

For another, given today's vote(s), reform advocates have two more supporters for a public option. Going into today, The Washington Independent's Public Option Scoreboard featured 47 supporters of a public option, 39 opponents, and 14 senators who are "on the fence." Two of those 14 -- Bill Nelson (D) of Florida and Tom Carper (D) of Delaware -- voted for the Schumer amendment.

Adding two to 47 obviously doesn't produce a majority, but Tom Harkin seems to think some of the remaining stragglers are on board, too.

The Senate has the votes to pass a healthcare reform bill including a public option, a key Senate chairman said Tuesday.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said that the Senate "comfortably" has a majority of votes to pass the public plan, and that he believes Democrats can muster 60 votes to break a filibuster.

"I have polled senators, and the vast majority of Democrats -- maybe approaching 50 -- support a public option," Harkin said told the liberal "Bill Press Radio Show." "So why shouldn't we have a public option? We have the votes.

"I believe we'll have the 60 votes, now that we have the new senator from Massachusetts, to at least get it on the Senate floor," Harkin later added. "But once we cross that hurdle, we only need 51 votes for the public option. And I believe there are, comfortably, 51 votes for a public option."

Now all reformers have to do is convince every senator in the Democratic caucus to let the Senate vote on a reform bill.

Steve Benen 4:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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Now all reformers have to do is convince every senator in the Democratic caucus to let the Senate vote on a reform bill

More importantly there needs to be punishment for any Democrat that fails to support a cloture vote. They are free to vote against the bill as they see fit. They can not be allowed to block a bill that enjoys majority support of the Senate. The 60 vote supermajority crap needs to end otherwise NOTHING will get done and democrats will have no one to blame but themselves (as usual).

Posted by: thorin-1 on September 29, 2009 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Before I am banned from posting from my work computer, I stand by prediction that no health care reform bill that contains a public option will come to a floor vote in either House of Congress.

Posted by: Chicounsel on September 29, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

To the elected officials in DC,

I know that numerous folks think that a public option in a healthcare reform bill is tantamount to socialistichitleresquearmageddon. Come on.

The real truth is that some of you guys and gals are cozy with the insurance companies.

To deny a public option is not in our long term best interests.

You have a duty to act in the interests of the people, not lobbified porcine fat-cat insurance profiteers.

We will not be fooled.

Yours truly,

American taxpayers and voters.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 29, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Chicocounsel-- unless you are paid to troll websites and post comments you shouldn't be posting from your work computer.

That being said, I think you're wrong. But what does it matter to people like you? You have a job and health insurance so why should you care if other people don't? You got yours, screw everyone else.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on September 29, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm liking Jay Rockefeller more and more to replace Reid.

Posted by: Disputo on September 29, 2009 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

With two added to 47 and still an even dozen sitting on the fence waiting to be picked off, the public option does seem to be viable. But everything will depend on the Dems willingness to support a cloture vote regardless of what their vote on the bill will be.

Despite the fact that Republicans have used reconcilliation to avoid Democratic fillibusters, if the Dems do it, there will be hell to pay. Reality has a well know liberal bias, but legislation is not made in the real world and rules are different for Democrats. Just ask Rush.

Posted by: majun on September 29, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'm liking Jay Rockefeller more and more to replace Reid.

Short memory re his performance on FISA/telecom immunity?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think Schumer is the strategist at work here. Setting up his amendment as the moderate middle to Rockefeller's amendment, pulled two more off the fence.
I also believe that Conrad and Baucus will be "persuaded" once the Medicare Reimbursement formulas are adjusted upwards for rural states. I am more and more convinced that the whole Gang of Six show was kabuki to give rural states leverage on some real money. Cue the pearl clutching ! Enzi and Grassley were willing to play along because while they don't want the HCR to pass, they do want the formula changed. In return for that, they gave Baucus and Conrad cover for their powerplay.

Posted by: tom in ma on September 29, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shortie, you're smart enough to understand that every Senator is in the pockets of one or more industries. The most we can expect from a majority leader is to have a spine against the corps that don't own his/her ass.

Posted by: Disputo on September 29, 2009 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

And you're smart enough, Disputo, to think outside the present moment and resist rewarding with additional power some of the most egregious offenders against our liberties and the rule of law.

Right?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2009 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK
Now all reformers have to do is convince every senator in the Democratic caucus to let the Senate vote on a reform bill.

Correction: Now all reformers have to do is convince every senator in the Democratic caucus not to support a Republican filibuster of the biggest domestic policy proposal that the very popular Democratic president campaigned on.

Doesn't sound as hard when it's expressed in those terms. I hope against hope that the Democratic leadership gets a clue about that.

Posted by: Redshift on September 29, 2009 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Despite the fact that Republicans have used reconcilliation to avoid Democratic fillibusters, if the Dems do it, there will be hell to pay.

Not if they actually pass a decent bill.

Posted by: qwerty on September 29, 2009 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

All of the MSM is reporting that the Public Option is dead.

It's the Baucus bill that's dead, not the Public Option.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 29, 2009 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Tom above writes: "I also believe that Conrad and Baucus will be "persuaded" once the Medicare Reimbursement formulas are adjusted upwards for rural states. I am more and more convinced that the whole Gang of Six show was kabuki to give rural states leverage on some real money."

I have long agreed with the overall theme here, but the Medicare Reimbursement formula issue is new to me. Ed Schultz made the same point on his MSNBC show this afternoon, and he is from that part of the country and talks to Conrad frequently.

Posted by: CMcC on September 29, 2009 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not surprised that the media narrative is that the public option is dead. They've declared it dead several times this year. Does anyone else think that Nelson voting for the public option is a big deal? He's the most conservative Democrat and his support will give cover to the other conservadems. I think we're actually very close to getting a public option now.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on September 29, 2009 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm liking Jay Rockefeller more and more to replace Reid.

Short memory re his performance on FISA/telecom immunity? -- shortstop, @17:22

Not to mention that West (by God!) Virginia *used to be* reliably Democratic but isn't, quite, any more. We need someone from one of the true-blue states as the Senate leader, so that he doesn't have to cower from the voters as well as bow to whichever industry happens to have the biggest stranglehold on 'un.

Posted by: exlibra on September 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'm liking Jay Rockefeller more and more to replace Reid.

Guns, carbon, and a particularly virulent strain of demotic Calvinism. Thems some nasty powers to be in thrall to.

No thanks.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 29, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Would be a shame to give the American people what we want, save lives and ameliorate suffering.

DAFT Bastards. Or evil. Take your pick.

Posted by: Sparko on September 29, 2009 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't all Democrats be yelling "Up or down vote" as their opponents all did a few years ago? Doesn't the public option deserve that sacred "Up or down vote?"

Posted by: Jon on September 30, 2009 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK

taxpayers have funded the Iraq and Afghan Wars while some private companies have profited - why can't we, the taxpayers be paid the money back? the money could go to healthcare for all, national border security, natural disaster defense, port inspection overhauls - can we afford to allow all of the greed of all absurdly profiting institutions?

Posted by: malibuSun on September 30, 2009 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

as a dual national
i've spent some time
overseas

as long as you are employed,
unemployed or seeking assistance
you are covered

the only way to miss out
is not to sign up

when you leave the doctors
you flip them a few bucks
[75-125+] of which you get

75% back after paperwork
same with per script ions

no one is afraid to seek
medical help when needed

we've got a way to go
to catch up with the
civilized world

can it be free
probably not

can it be
reasonable

certainly

human nature
is a funny thing
but when push
comes to shove

most people would
choose to look out
for each [one?] other

i believe that is true
in this case also
they [we] just can't
seem to get it straight

as i wrote our # 1

'two things in life
should be free of profit
one is education
the other health-care'

'i know you
can do it
make it so'

Posted by: estebanfolsom on September 30, 2009 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

what's the big jump?
the government owns a car company
half of the largest insurance company
and has propped up the financial sector
what's the big deal about healthcare
that actually would benefit everyone?
single payer/universal coverage
let the insurance companies
fend for themselves
instead of the people

Posted by: estebanfolsom on September 30, 2009 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

exlibra: ...so that he doesn't have to cower from the voters as well as bow to whichever industry happens to have the biggest stranglehold on 'un.

Relatively speaking, Rockefeller didn't take that much cash from telecoms, particularly when you consider that his family fortune can finance any number of reelection bids without even blinking. There is thus at least some reason to conclude that Rockefeller actually believes that citizens have no privacy expectations and corporations no obligation to observe the law when someone claims there's a super-unique war on.

Unstable Isotope: Does anyone else think that Nelson voting for the public option is a big deal? He's the most conservative Democrat and his support will give cover to the other conservadems.

Ben Nelson didn't vote for it. Bill Nelson, who's far from the most conservative Dem, did.

Posted by: shortstop on September 30, 2009 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Bailey on March 9, 2010 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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