Bill Nelson, Tom Carper Support Schumer "Level Playing Field" Public Option

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 15:32


Some big news in the Finance Committee mark-up:

  • The Rockefeller amendment for a strong public option tied to Medicare rates was defeat by a vote of 8 in favor, 15 against. Senators Baucus, Carper, Conrad, Lincoln and Bill Nelson voted against.

  • The Schumer amendment for a "level playing field" public option will be voted on next. So far, among opponents to Rockefeller amendment, already Bill Nelson has said he will vote in favor. Update: Schumer amendment fails 10-13.

  • Removing Baucus and adding Bill Nelson as a supporter of some sort of trigger-less public option keeps the whip count at the same number (and really, since we are now talking cloture instead of reconciliation, Byrd becomes a "yes," and we have a safety margin). There are still enough votes to pass a public option if it is included in the merged bill sent to the floor by the Budget Committee, and if it isn't filibustered.

  • Update Carper votes in favor of Schumer public option. With Carper, Byrd and Bill Nelson, we don't even need Tester, Pryor, Begich or Baucus. 51 votes now secured for Schumer public option on Senate floor. If this public option is in the bill sent to the floor, and if that bill passes cloture, then public option will pass into law.
More updates as they come in. Follow Open Left's coverage of the Finance Committee hearings on Twitter.
Chris Bowers :: Bill Nelson, Tom Carper Support Schumer "Level Playing Field" Public Option

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hey chris (4.00 / 3)
can you put a widget with the OL tweets on the OL home page?

You said 7 was good number on an earlier post (4.00 / 1)
Is this eight votes a significant increase in support foir a stronger PO than you might have thought before.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


And the Schumer amendment gets 10! (4.00 / 2)
Is this as good news as I think it is?

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


Probably not (4.00 / 1)
There's no way Reid is going to include it in the merged bill out of the Budget committee with Finance voting it down, so conference is the only hope at this point, and it's a long-shot.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
No No read Chris's post and update, the numbers are BETTER thjan expected. (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Sure... (0.00 / 0)
I just happen to think Chris is being unreasonably sanguine.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
He might be, but he is predicting based on rational behaviour of previous votes and statements (4.00 / 1)
and the players might change their position as the heat goes up, but I think is more likely CB is exhibiting sang-froid, aqnd the pressure is heating up from the left, not the right.

I think we can trust CB's analysis of positions taken, he doesn't add in 'magic sauce' to get to a number. Again sopemone may vote no, retire, and move to a mansion in Dubai, but barring a meltdown I feel OK as he underestimated this vote count for example.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
It's just a guess (4.00 / 3)
but I think Nelson voted for the PO because he knew it wasn't going to pass...

the questions has never been whether (4.00 / 3)
we would get a public option out of this committee.  We will not.  The question is how many dems vote no on the final committee bill that doesn't include a public option.  And how many repubs vote yes.

Hard to see any Repubs besides Snowe and maybe Grassley in a long shot voting yes.  If 4 dems (maybe 3) refuse to vote for the bill without the public option then nothing comes out of committee.

I will remain a pessimist about getting those 4 dems, but it is possible.  In which case, I don't know what happens - does Reid bring the other bill to the floor?

Actually getting a PO to pass the Senate - aside from a whip count of people who say they'll vote for it if cornered - has always been a long shot.  The only hope for a robust PO is a strong progressive bloc in the House.

And let's be clear about Bill nelson (my Senator).  He opposes the public option.  He's a former insurance commissioner.  He has a history of picking votes he knows he will lose to make himself look better, that's the only reason he voted for Schumer's bill.

Yes, IF a bill with a public option comes to an up or down vote (not reconciliation), he'll probably vote for it if it is modeled after Schumer's.  But he will be working to prevent such a bill from getting there.

Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.


Nelson voted for the PO! (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
It's CYA (4.00 / 1)
He voted for it because he knew it didn't have the votes. If he was the deciding vote, he would have voted it down, i.e.

He has a history of picking votes he knows he will lose to make himself look better, that's the only reason he voted for Schumer's bill.


Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
He will vote for it on the floor I think. (0.00 / 0)
But we will see, he takes us to 52 or 53 votes for the PO.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
we shouldn't be counting votes for the PO (0.00 / 0)
we should be counting votes against filibustering a bill with a PO.  

[ Parent ]
It appears they are going for a filibuster breaking vote on health reform (0.00 / 0)
and the others as 51. But we will see as we move forward.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Essentially the same thing nowadays (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
that's the real problem (0.00 / 0)
Baucus keeps arguing that he can't support the PO because it won't pass the Senate.  That might be true if 60 votes are needed to pass a bill in the senate, but that's bullshit.  You only need 60 for cloture.  And the Democrats, including Schumer and everyone else, are complicit in this charade.

[ Parent ]
at ABC, I countered this (0.00 / 0)
when after the election, Charlie Gibson kept talking "60 vote majority"

I suggested to my producer that it's not really 60 vote majority, but to break filibusters and then I suggested that if we should be honest about the fact that the only reason 60 votes matter was because the Republicans were planning on filibustering, I got shot down because it would sound "too partisan"

I'm actually pretty surprised progressives haven't been targetting the media more often.  


[ Parent ]
Surprised? (0.00 / 0)
When have the Dems ever had an effective media strategy?

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans

[ Parent ]
Jeez I hate this shit (0.00 / 0)
Lieberman does this fucking cowardly bullshit too. Try explaining cloture to Lieberman leaners in '06.  

"I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that."
-Lawrence Summers


[ Parent ]
Baucus votes "no" on both... (4.00 / 3)
So much for his "support" of the public option.

Glad this is cause for optimism. (0.00 / 0)
Personally, I find myself depressed by these votes, but my hopes were not realistic.

Dont be depressed! These are good numbers, better than hoped for. (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
If we have 51 votes for the public option, (4.00 / 3)
the count to watch is the vote for cloture.

I am REALLY surprised by Carper and Nelson.

I can't fight the feeling that this battle is closer to won than we think.


Hardball (4.00 / 6)
Closure should be required to all that caucus with the Democrats.  If anyone strays, all leadership positions and seniority status should be stripped.

[ Parent ]
The vote for cloture (4.00 / 6)
on this bill now becomes the biggest vote in the Senate since the vote on the Civil Rights Act.


[ Parent ]
Very good frame! (4.00 / 1)
Thats the headline for emails across the country soon.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
It's not that simple (0.00 / 0)
remember telecom immunity?  Now, there, we didn't even have 50 votes, but remember how some amendments required 60 votes?  Given ALL the signs out there from Reid, Obama, etc, do you think that they won't make the vote on any amendment to add the public option take 60 votes?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how the Senate works, but I suspect that they will work out an agreement with the Repubs to that effect just like they did for telecom immunity.

Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.


[ Parent ]
Then there will be NO BILL FOR HEALTH REFORM (0.00 / 0)
if they take it out, it fails in the house.

And the dems are swept in 2010.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I sorta doubt it (0.00 / 0)
the thing is I'm resonably sure if it becomes clear there is no way on earth a public option will pass the Senate...the progressives in the House will then fold and pass a bill without a public option.

Of course they're never going to say it, they're going to fight until the very end.

There is not going to be NO healthcare reform bill...something is going to pass, otherwise they would've gave up already.  


[ Parent ]
I guess you are going to be a little shocked then. (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
that's why we need to pressure Reid to get the HELP (4.00 / 1)
public option included in the Senate bill when the HELP bill and the SFC bill are merged.

[ Parent ]
Yes this vote for cloture is a vote for the democrats period, this is a make or break (your legs) whip. (0.00 / 0)
Ans I think Chris is hinting that we have 54 voptes for a PO on the floor now, and climbing. because there will be a cloture vote, then a vote for the Bill on the floor. Baucus will not vote against the Bill on the floor (yeah well unless he is a liar, that could ne be true could it?)because he only voted against it now "because it doesn't have votes on the floor" and so that argument gopes when it hits the floor.

Does this mean the PO vote will get 55 votes? If so thats too damn many. Time for the pledge bvlock to make sure they are demanding whatever will get just 51.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Amen (0.00 / 0)
Stripping Baucus of his Committee chair would be a great consolation prize.

[ Parent ]
It's pretty evident (0.00 / 0)
that there are at least 50 votes for the Schumer PO in the Senate, despite the media's pretty obvious and desperate attempts to kill it and push the narrative it has no chance. Right now, its obvious the focus should be on securing the 60 votes for cloture, as well as hardening the 50+ senators who are for the Schumer PO. Like Chris, I see more positive than negatives in todays results in the Finance Committee. While I was somewhat hoping that via a miracle the Schumer PO would pass the Committee, 2 of the 3 votes who were responsible for it not passing(Baucus and Conrad) have invested a lot in this bill and are definetely yes votes for cloture, and probably yes votes for a final bill with a PO. Baucus, in particular, put himself in a position where he would have to support a bill with a PO, since he restated his support for it today and claimed his singular reason for opposition was chance of passage.

Now, regarding the cloture vote, we will need Obama's help, and he'll need to really step up his game, assuming he's even joined the game at all. The reality is this shouldn't be hard cause if Obama met with the 8-9 Dem Senators who are against the PO one on one in the Oval, it would be extremely hard for them to tell their president, the head of their party, that they would support a filibuster to derail his biggest agenda item. A Democratic Senator doing that would seriously put his standing as a democrat at risk and would also risk support of their state democratic party and infrastrucutre. Senators from conservative states, in particular, need the infrastructure and party backing since they can't really ona liberal grassroots presence, or at least one with a big footprint. Not to mention they would be begging for a primary opponent, and not a token primary opponent, but one that has a fundamental and clearly defined issue that can kill these Senators with democratic voters. So needless to say, it would take a form of courage for a D senator to take that path, and thankfully their lack of courage can play in our favor, at least this time. That being said, this is all predicated on Obama engaging the process and playing to win, and quit the playing not to lose strategy that says lets keep on watering it down until we get 60.  


I still think the Rockefeller version is far better and should be included. (4.00 / 2)
Those three votes for the Schumer Aamend. will vote for the Rockefeller amendmended final bill.

Remember this is the most conservative ctte. the final is no defined per se by this ctte's votes.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Agree completely, ai002h (4.00 / 2)
All about the cloture vote.  That is gonna be massive.  I just don't see any Democrats, even Lieberman, standing in that spotlight as the 1 or 2 Senators blocking reform.  The coverage will be huge, the pressure enormous.  I don't think they have the spine to block it.  This might be a vote where Democratic gutlessness actually helps!

[ Parent ]
re: floor vote (4.00 / 1)
This might be a vote where Democratic gutlessness actually helps!

LOL!


[ Parent ]
I started laughing, rolled on the floor and my ass fell off (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Come on (0.00 / 0)
Ben Nelson thinks there needs to be 65 votes before it can be considered legitimate. Do you honestly think he AND Lincoln AND Conrad AND Baucus AND Lieberman will ALL vote for cloture and let it pass with 52 votes or something? I wouldn't even give 10:1 odds on Reid including it in the final Senate bill.

This is getting into magic pony territory.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
No this is hardball shit. This where there is arm twisting. (0.00 / 0)
This vote today puts the PO in the final, ironically, and the arm twisting is making sure there is reform, any reform, because its going to include a PO.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I don't understand the whip count (0.00 / 0)
The Independent scorecard has 47 votes in favor.  Nelson and Carper make 49.  

Baucus voted no and based on their statements Tester and Begich still seems on the fence.  

How did you get to 51?


McCaskill (0.00 / 0)
McCaskill voted for an amendment favoring the Kennedy HELP bill PO.

She makes 50, and Biden makes 51.


[ Parent ]
Yes thank you. (0.00 / 0)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
There is NO WAY (0.00 / 0)
Baucus will vote against a healthcare bill just cause it has a PO. With the delay and attention his committee has gotten, and with his unconventional Gang of 6 approach where he was given infinite rope, he basically become part of democratic leadership regarding this bill and can't afford to vote against it anymore than Reid or Pelosi can. Not to mention that he claims he's for a PO and his ONLY reason for voting against it is ensuring passage of a final bill. Even though none of us consider his support of the PO to be genuine, his statement today effectively gave him no choice but to support a final bill with a PO should it come to that.  

[ Parent ]
Everyone's talking about cloture, but (4.00 / 2)
I wonder if we're missing something.  Let's assume that the public option doesn't make it into the Finance bill - seems likely given  the votes today.  Then Reid and the dems have to decide what to bring to the floor.  What makes anyone think it will include a public option?  I don't, based on past history.

If it doesn't, that means there will be a public option amendment.  Here's the second thing I wonder if we're missing - why won't Reid make an agreement with repubs like he did with telecom immunity so that some amendments require 60 votes?  Otherwise, they could drag the process out for a long time (yes I know Reid has options but since when has he shown a willingness to use them).  Anyway, if it takes 60 votes, no way the public option passes.  Forget cloture, it won't be spun as dem unity it will simply be a vote that requires 60.

Now maybe such an agreement won't be made, but given that Reid (and Obama for that matter) seem inclined to spare the conservadems tough votes, I could easily see it playing out like that.  Remember, out of those 51 votes, at least 4 or 5 of them are reluctant and will take any opportunity to weasel out of supporting a strong public option.

Someone tell me I'm off-base, that it can't play out like I've said.  because it sure seems like it has in the past.

Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.


It shouldn't take much for (4.00 / 1)
Dem leadership, particularly Obama, to sell these Senators on the perils of supporting a filibuster. But if Obama pushes for a cloture vote the same he's been "pushing" for a public option, then you're absolutely correct in assuming the Senators against the PO will be able to sell there vote as simply a procedural one requiring 60 votes on the bill.

Hopefully what Obama will do is finally engage the legislative process and finally start leading instead of acting like a bystandard who's simply watching congress debate like the rest of us. He should invite each of the anti-PO Senators to the oval office alone and let them say to his face that they will support a filibuster to derail something democrats have run on for 80 years, and the biggest agenda item of their president, the leader of their party. If thats not enough, although it should be,  Obama help these Senators realize that supporting a filibuster would be such a powerful tool for a primary challenger to run on in a democratic primary that these Senators will go the way of Leiberman, except many of their states don't have a loophole that allows you to run as an Independant once you lose a primary.

The reality is this issue has garnered so much national attention that it's a pretty safe bet that democrats in all these states will probably be aware of their senator's support of the filibuster and, like most democrats in the country, would view filibustering healthcare reform as a watershed vote, ala supporting a wrong war, that brand name and all the stuff that protects incumbents will disappear in a hurry.  


[ Parent ]
recommended for (0.00 / 0)
at least trying to impart some hope.  But I'm not convinced Obama truly cares about a public option.  We shall see...

Want a progressive global warming novel, not a right wing rant? Go to www.edwardgtalbot.com for a free audio thriller.

[ Parent ]
can we get roll call votes of who voted against public option? (0.00 / 0)
Hi..

It would be helpful if we had roll call votes of who voted against the public option....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Mad Professah Lectures


democrats who voted against Rockefeller amendment (4.00 / 1)
Nelson (FL)
Conrad
Baucus
Lincoln
Carper

democrats who voted against Schumer amendment:

Conrad
Baucus
Lincoln


[ Parent ]
We need 10, not 50 or 60 (4.00 / 3)
We need ten senators to say they cannot support a bill with mandates but no public option. The Baucus/Finance bill would be dead in the water if it's clear it can't get even 50 votes. Reid cannot choose and go forward with Finance if it can't get to 50.

Opposing Baucus/Finance is good policy and good politics -- no bill at all is better than Baucus/Finance. We should be encouraging this as a public stance before the Democratic party gets stuck with this turkey.

Ten Democratic senators can kill Baucus/Finance. Ten senators can ensure we either get a public option as a starting point in the Senate.

One final thought -- the majority of the Senate majority wants a public option. The Majority Leader ought to respect that.

Self-refuting Christine O'Donnell is proof monkeys are still evolving into humans


Do we really want Schumers version of a PO? (0.00 / 0)
Sounds just awful to me. Far from robust.

No we dont. (0.00 / 0)
This was a test vote for potential support for the final bill, it seems to have gone very well, I read Chris Bowers correctly. And Mike Lux says its on track indeed.

Pressure needs to put now to craft the final version, and I assure you people are working overtime to do the crafting. People are indeed taking the pledge seriously.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
While I prefer a robust PO (0.00 / 0)
it is sort of disingenuous to argue to the centrists that the PO is "another insurance company" if it has Medicare-tied rates.

[ Parent ]
Plus at this point I'll take any PO we can get (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
ANY PO? (0.00 / 0)
Even if it is ineffective, or to be sprung by a trigger designed to never be pulled?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
I meant any non-trigger PO (0.00 / 0)
and when I made that comment what I meant was where I would draw my line in the sand.

Obviously, I much prefer the robust PO - in fact, my first choice for health care is Medicare for All, and barring that my first choice for a PO would be the most robust type of PO, a straight-up Medicare buy-in.  If I were in Congress I'd be fighting tooth and nail for the strongest PO possible.

But what I meant in that comment was where I would draw the line - in other words, the minimum requirement for the bill to have my support.  The minimum requirement for me would be a Schumer-type level playing field PO, because at least with that we get our foot in the door.  Anything less - co-ops, triggers, what have you - and with an individual mandate and I say we kill the bill.


[ Parent ]
baucus thinks you're the best (0.00 / 0)
he passes his compliments

[ Parent ]
Oh please (0.00 / 0)
Baucus doesn't even want a PO.

[ Parent ]
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