Lieberman won't filibuster, reaches "private understanding" with Reid

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Nov 03, 2009 at 00:08


Last week, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a merged health care bill including an opt-out public option. The next day, Senator Joe Lieberman threatened to vote against cloture on any health care bill with a public option. The same day, Reid promptly brushed off the threat, saying that "Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems."

Now, sources claim the two Senators have reached a "private understanding" to let the bill go forward:

Sen. Joe Lieberman has reached a private understanding with Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will not block a final vote on healthcare reform, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

Um, OK I guess. There are good reasons to be wary, but I'll take it for now.

Anyone want to guess what the "private understanding" is?

Update: Now, both Reid and Lieberman are denying this to multiple sources. Of course they are.  Either there is a private understanding, and saying so in public would make them sound ridiculous, or there is no private understanding, and saying there is would make them sound ridiculous.

In short, stating publicly that you have a private understanding sounds bad.

Chris Bowers :: Lieberman won't filibuster, reaches "private understanding" with Reid

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How about... (4.00 / 4)
"STFU you egotistical asshole? You do remember how we let you keep your chairmanship, right?"

Then again, this is Harry Reid we're talking about... I'm not sure if that spinal implant he got is going to get him any further than just keeping the PO in the bill to start with.


And Yet (4.00 / 2)
If this is true, it seems pretty clear that is exactly what happened, though I'm sure in nicer language.  

or...

The other possibility is Lieberman is just making noise to make sure the public option doesn't get any stronger and Reid knows it.


[ Parent ]
I want it signed in blood... (4.00 / 4)
Don't ever trust Lieberman... ever!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


PARKING! (4.00 / 12)
Reid gave Lieberman a better parking spot. Also, he got a new tape dispenser for his desk.

I think it was the stapler (4.00 / 9)
Reid gave it back to him, moved his desk out of the basement.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, Joe... What's happening... (4.00 / 7)
I'm going to need you to go ahead and move your office to the Senate basement... while you're down there, we have a bit of a cockroach problem... maybe you can look into that?



REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Ummmm.... I was told that I could get the red dispenser... (4.00 / 4)


REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
I think and hope thta (4.00 / 4)
Lieberman backed down because none of the other conservadems were going to join him.

This "private understanding" business is just a cover so that Lieberman can claim he got some kind of assurance or quid pro quo for his cooperation.

If Lieberman had gotten anything substantial, like an amendment, there would be no secrecy.


Good point. (0.00 / 0)
He's never been about the modesty.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
If Lieberman were from Texas (0.00 / 0)
He'd be all hat and no cattle, as they like to say. Probably he's thrilled to be through the hysterics that got him another 15 minutes of fame and glory. It's like having to fly enough every few years to renew your frequent flyer miles, only in his case it's making himself politically viable.

Don't know about Conservadem support for Lieberman, but I suspect you're right that any real deal would not be kept secret.


[ Parent ]
I don't trust anonymous sources (4.00 / 1)
but if there was a deal, it could be anything from giving Israel more leverage (see Hillary Clinton lately) to supporting him as the Democratic nominee for Senate in 2012 "You can run as a Democrat and won't support a primary challenger"


God, I hate politics sometimes. (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Do you think that Reid's office may be leaking this stuff.... (0.00 / 0)
...to box Joe into a corner?

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
maybe (4.00 / 2)
but I doubt you can box Joe into a corner, this guy is the definition of rogue. That could be Reid's strategy, it would be VERY risky if it is.

But I suspect if he was, Lieberman's office would have come out immediately and countered...if they don't tomorrow, then we'll know.  


[ Parent ]
My vote is garlands... (4.00 / 2)
....my wish is for them to be made of poison sumac and poison ivy.

Reid offered Joe the"Senate Majority Leader" job! (4.00 / 2)


confirmation (4.00 / 5)
I checked with my anonymous sources and confirmed that Lieberman got a new parking spot. Specifically, it was Ted Kennedy's old spot. The conversation went like this:

Lieberman: I intend to filibuster the health care bill if it contains a public plan.

Harry Reid: It was Ted Kennedy's dying wish that we pass meaningful health care reform.

Lieberman: Screw Kennedy, he endorsed Ned Lamont!

Harry Reid: He endorsed the Democratic nominee.

Lieberman: Fat bastard.

Harry Reid: Come on Joe, what do you want?

Lieberman: Give me Kennedy's old office.

Harry Reid. Can't do it. You can have his parking spot.

Lieberman: And I want a new tape dispenser. The wheelie thing in mine cracked.

Harry Reid: Done. Harry Reid is going home now.  


Each has a "private" understanding (4.00 / 2)
Reid, in the privacy of his head, understands Lieberman will not filibuster. Joe in his privacy understands he will. The agreement is that between a staring cobra and a hypnotized mouse.  

re: understanding (0.00 / 0)
But sources said Reid's staff is telling liberal interest groups that Lieberman (Conn.) has assured Reid he will vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.

we're not out of the woods yet even if this is true

don't we need a vote to end cloture on the conference report?

"Lieberman keeps assuring Reid that he's OK," said one source. "But he's one of those characters - you never know with Joe. "Maybe he's talking tough to get the public option watered down

that's what I'm afraid

or he's trying to get some stuff for himself on other topics or on other sections of the legislation," the source added.

that would be ok


Sourcing is very weak; Doesn't support the lede (0.00 / 0)
But sources said Reid's staff is telling liberal interest groups that Lieberman (Conn.) has assured Reid he will vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.

This is triple bankshot sourcing. "Sources" say "Reid's staff is saying" to "liberal interest groups."

Additionally, the information from the "sources" does not support the lede graf contention that Lieberman committed to "not block a final vote." Only that he will support bringing the bill to the floor "perhaps with intentions to change the bill."

Meanwhile, detestable Lieberman flak Marshall Wittmann reasserts that "Sen. Lieberman has made it clear that he will vote for the motion to proceed to the healthcare bill but will oppose cloture on a final bill if it contains a public option because he believes that it would worsen our national debt problem."

I hope the reporter has the lede right, but I don't really see it in the actual reporting...

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


Just to add... (4.00 / 1)
It is my default belief that Lieberman is Nixonian enough to stand alone to screw his mortal enemies, damn the consequences. The fact that the PO is a big win for his enemies has got to be under his skin. He's got to be steaming about that.

However, it's also possible that the hard public filibuster threat now, before the actual floor bill is finalized, may just be an effort to see if Reid will cave or compromise the PO before bringing it to the floor. With 60 votes required to change the floor bill, Lieberman has to know his only real shot at gutting the PO is before it gets to the floor.  

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


[ Parent ]
What liberal interest groups? (0.00 / 0)
are the sources coming from the interest groups?

I'd be interested in hearing what interest groups are they talking about.  


[ Parent ]
Yes, very little in the article. (0.00 / 0)
There is a quote in the article by Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager of Healthcare for America Now, a coalition of liberal and labor groups. Whether he is one of the sources is completely unclear.

However, the fact that Lieberman has made his threats before the bill is formally introduced offers some hope that he may not be completely committed to blocking the PO. If Lieberman really wanted to block this, his best strategy would be to allow time-consuming debate to occur, remain "uncommitted" until the final passage vote, and then to lower the boom. That he has given fair warning in advance seems to me that he may want something substantial in return for his vote.

My guesses are 1. Support from Democrats for his re-election in 2012, and 2. Pro-Israeli policies implemented by the Administration. Or maybe both. That the second may already be happening is indicated by Clinton's statement that she no longer requires a complete settlement freeze before she would agree to peace negotiations.

In any case, Harry Reid would be wise to have a "Plan B" strategy ready, if there really is one, and if he really wants the PO.


[ Parent ]
I have to say (4.00 / 1)
between this and the "White House supports triggers, but doesn't" crap, I'm tired of unnamed sources.

Seriously, this is absolutely disgusting. When I started at Newsday in 2001, I would've been fired for shit like this.

Ok maybe not, but they never would've let me to go print with ambiguous sources.  


I would like to think (4.00 / 4)
the "private understanding" is that in exchange for agreeing not to filibuster, Harry Reid will not punch Leiberman's face on the floor of the Senate, with cameras rolling. But it's only a dream.

Montani semper liberi

Sadly, TT's probably got it right (0.00 / 0)
Of course, I hope to be proven wrong...

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

[ Parent ]
Ummm....Let me see... (0.00 / 0)
Gee Joe, you know how I hate confrontation and all, but a lot of the guys in the caucus are getting pretty mad. You know that I would never do this to you, but I think that they have the votes to strip you of your Homeland Security Chairmanship and they intend to use them. I'm so sorry.
What? You won't filibuster but you'll just vote against it. That's wonderful you gnome...err I mean outstanding statesman of a Senator.

best case / worst case (0.00 / 0)
Best case: Reid pulled Lieberman aside, got him to stop, and this is a face-saving headline so he doesn't look like a jackass for even having considered a filibuster.

Worst case: Reid pulled Lieberman aside, and assured him that the amendment process would probably lead to killing the public option with a trigger. Lobbyists rejoice.

Reality: probably a random anonymous quote, with no way of knowing what will actually happen.


Let's face it. . . (0.00 / 0)
Lieberman started all of this because he didn't like that Snowe was getting all the attention. If we can count on one thing, it is that Lieberman will always do whatever is necessary to insert himself as the center of attention.

And regardless of anonymous reports of an "understanding" with Reid (which Lieberman's staff now denies)I fully expect Lieberman will NOT vote for cloture - if for no other reason than for the headlines it will generate to feed his bloated ego.


Lieberman on the Conference Committee maybe? (0.00 / 0)


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