Progressive Block Down To 46; Reid Backs Down

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 11:49

Three weeks ago, the Progressive Caucus began a whip count of their membership to see how many were willing to oppose a health care reform plan that did not contain a public option. It appears the number they came up with is 46:

But Grijalva noted that 46 members recently signed a letter pledging to vote against the centrist plan. In the numbers game of the House, that is significant, because Republicans are expected to unite against the healthcare bill. So if 39 Democrats oppose the plan, it wouldn't get the 218 votes needed to pass. There are 52 Blue Dogs, as well as many other centrist members not in the coalition.

No such letter with 46 names appears on the Progressive Caucus website, so I have placed a call to verify if the 46 Grijalva is referring to here is the number from the whip count.

If the 46 Grijalva refers to is the total from the whip count, then 14 members have left the original group of 60. Further, whereas the original 60 signed their names in public, we don't actually know who these 46 are. So, while the Block is still large enough to block health care reform legislation, it appears to have weakened significantly. Democracy for America and Fire Dog Lake are trying to bolster them.

Also of note, Harry Reid has clarified his remark from yesterday that "we are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk." Now his office says they will have a competition and cost control mechanism of some sort:

Sen. Reid believes that health insurance reform must include a mechanism to keep insurers honest, create competition and keep costs down. He feels that the public option is the best way to do that. While we don't know exactly what that option will look like, Sen. Reid, working with President Obama, will ensure that whatever is included in the final bill does just that.

These two developments muddle my positive feelings from last night.  

Chris Bowers :: Progressive Block Down To 46; Reid Backs Down

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The whip count is a bit befuddled (0.00 / 0)
It seems like the earlier count was 60 who would vote against a bill without a public option at all. This count appears to be those who would vote against a bill with a specific weakened public option. The number who would vote against a bill with no PO is likely still 60 or maybe more.

So, that's probably 46 who will settle for nothing less than Medicare+5%, and 14 or who want a public option but will settle for one that has negotiated rates.

But frankly, even the blue dog version in the house with negotiated rates is a lot stronger than what will come out of the Senate (likely to be the flimsiest of fig leaves.)

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

that's how I read it (4.00 / 1)
These 46 are against the compromise in HR 3200, I think. The original 60 were against a bill with no public option at all, or only a triggered public option.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
This ain't surprising, this is reid's MO (0.00 / 0)
He'll say one thing in favor of the public option and walk that back the very next day.


Reid is who Reid is and that will never change. (4.00 / 1)
Chris, I wanted to express my appreciation for your positivism through all this. Your posts have been most excellent, at least for me, for helping me keep an open mind on all this and that's not a simple task where I'm concerned.

But the corrupt Harry Reid and his corrupt right-wing cohorts in OUR party will always behave this way. So I can't say I'm surprised at this latest iteration of sliminess.

TPM ran a piece, I think yesterday, in which an unnamed source from a progressive group basically threatened to throw Reid to the proverbial wolves if he doesn't come through this one time.

I'm not going to sign any more petitions on this, but I will contribute to an ad campaign to unseat that MoFo once and for all. Let's be done with him!

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates

Harry Reid muddles my positive feelings (0.00 / 0)
every time he opens his mouth.  Seriously, Durbin can't possibly be any worse than this clown is.  It's time for regime change in the Senate before this rare opportunity - a Democratic triumvirate in DC - goes completely to waste.

Making the affirmative case for "No" (4.00 / 1)
One component that is severely lacking is a concerted PR effort to mainstream the argument for voting no on a mandate/no public option bill. This omission presents a critical, two-fold problem: It doesn't give the progressive caucus rhetorical cover for staying strong and it leaves open the counter rhetorical argument that out-of-the-mainstream DFH's are killing reform.

We know it intuitively and to a some extent it's verbalized within progressive organizing circles, but to my knowledge and viewing of general news publications/networks, there's virtually no discussion of just how bad mandates w/o a public option would be. It's worse than doing nothing. And that's the point that needs to be overtly reinforced publicly, far and wide.

We're asking these 46 people to stand up and kill health care reform if necessary. They're going to need more cover than just not getting their public option. They're going to need a defense and affirmative case for why killing any reform is the right thing to do. That argument is simply not being publicly made now.

Finally, assuming this worst case scenario, where the House progressive caucus does in fact kill all health care reform, how is that going to be spun? Who's going to get the blame? Is CW for the next 15 years going to be that radical, irrational DFH's killed health care? Because you know that's how the Village is set up to portray this. And right now we're leaving that rhetorical field wide open.

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


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