Dems reach 60, but three threaten to filibuster final bill with public option

by: Chris Bowers

Sat Nov 21, 2009 at 16:03

Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln have now, unsurprisingly, joined Ben Nelson and given Democrats 60 votes to proceed on the health care bill.  Debate and amendments will begin the week after Thanksgiving.

As part of their statements, Landrieu and Lincoln are both claiming they will filibuster a bill with the current version of the public option.  Landrieu is demanding a trigger, and claims that she is working on a compromise of that sort with Senator Schumer. Lincoln did not specify a trigger as part of her demands.  They join Joe Lieberman, who has been threatening to filibuster a bill with a public option for nearly a month.

It is worth noting that, several months ago, both Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln singed the HCAN statement of common purpose which states:

Our government's responsibility is to guarantee quality affordable health care for everyone in America and it must play a central role in regulating, financing, and providing health coverage by establishing:

  1. A truly inclusive and accessible health care system in which no one is left out.

  2. A choice of a private insurance plan, including keeping the insurance you have if you like it, or a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage.

So, these Senators are just flat-out liars.  Both Lincoln and Landrieu signed a document stating that it was the "government's responsibility to guarantee... a public insurance plan," and now they both claim they will filibuster a bill with a public insurance plan.

Both of them flipped on the card-check provision of EFCA, too.  They are just liars.  I don't even know why we deal with lying Senators like these.  I certainly don't know why we give to organizations that give them money.  How can we believe anything either from these two Senators, or from organizations that are funneling them money?  They consistently lie to us about the most important, progressive aspects of the Democratic agenda.

Chris Bowers :: Dems reach 60, but three threaten to filibuster final bill with public option

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From a purely political standpoint... (4.00 / 2)
I can understand Lincoln's hesitation, what with being up for reelection next year. Landrieu, though, was just reelected last year; she really has no excuse for pulling this bullshit.

And don't even get me started on Lieberman, I worked my ass off for Lamont in 2006, and having to wait 3 more years to kick this fucker's teeth in for good is too long.

You understand her hesitation in supporting (0.00 / 0)
something that is popular, because she is up for reelection?

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Not from a policy standpoint (0.00 / 0)
At least Lincoln has an (albeit weak) excuse because of her situation (being a federal Democrat in a state that has turned deep red at that level over this decade). Landrieu doesn't at all.

I agree overall though that this doesn't really excuse her actions on this.

[ Parent ]
Lincoln has a primary threat from her left (0.00 / 0)
on this very issue. (I could have sworn I saw a poll that showed that the PO had majority support in AR, but I can't find it.)

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Arkansas (0.00 / 0)
The last I saw, the public option was not popular in Arkansas.  Admittedly, this is partially due to no one advocating for it in that state, but it is still an issue.

I've heard others claim the PO popularity in Arkansas was not bad, though, so there conflicting polls.  Unfortunately, I don't have a link.

[ Parent ]
You are factually wrong (4.00 / 1)
"PUBLIC OPTION: Arkansas voters favor a public option 56% to 37%. Independents favor it 57% to 32%. Democrats 83% to 12%.

2010 GENERAL ELECTION: If Lincoln joined Republicans in filibustering a public option, 35% of Independents would be less likely to vote for her, 10% more likely. (Over 3 to 1). Among Democrats, 49% to 7% (7 to 1). Lincoln is only 2% ahead of Republican Gilbert Baker (41% to 39%), a net drop of 5% since last month's Research 2000 poll."

It took me 20 seconds of googling to find this poll. I will not get into why you were not able to do the same.  

[ Parent ]
He is not factually incorrect (4.00 / 1)
He said according to the last poll he saw and there are conflicting polls.

You provided one poll - which is consistent with what he said. Google something that shows that all polls show that, and you can say he's factually incorrect.

I suspect that all told it is popular there, but your attack is wrongheaded.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
Until I see the link (0.00 / 0)
with the specifics of the poll he is referencing, he's factually wrong.  

[ Parent ]
Not under the basic rules of the English language (n/t) (4.00 / 1)

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
I am not going to get in a pissing match over a reasonable request (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Here's Zogby as of Nov. 19: (0.00 / 0)

64% oppose, 29% support.  

[ Parent ]
It's a telephone survey (0.00 / 0)
He may be a crap pollster, but it's only his internet polls that are worthless. His telephone ones are just bad.

I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle - most Arkansas voters have only a fuzzy idea of what the public option is, and results vary according to news cycles and question wording.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
okay I thought zogby had been caught (0.00 / 0)
screwing with his polls. May be that's someone else.  

[ Parent ]
A good final bill was always in doubt.. (0.00 / 0)
This strategy of Reid's always seemed like a master shell game. He's too tight with Lieberman to trust.

For hacks like Lieberman or Nelson to ever vote for the final bill means we're not going to like what Harry will do to appease them. It's barely acceptable now.
He may get 60 on a take it or leave it piece of shit/final gutted version as Bill Clinton suggested we all should, but will we accept the final Reid/Lieberman piece of shit bill is the real question?

Nationalism is not the same thing as terrorism, and an adversary is not the same thing as an enemy.

[ Parent ]
From a purely political standpoint... (4.00 / 3)
...Lincoln is not a very good tactician.

I don't understand why Lincoln didn't leave herself outs and instead made a rather Shermanesque statement that goes beyond even triggers. Her line now is no government run plan, period, which rules out anything other than maybe non-profit co-ops.

As a matter of pure politics, she's needlessly boxed herself in publicly, when she could have effectively leveraged the very same position privately. She's going to be in a very tough spot when the eventual compromise accepted by everyone else is something short of her hard, now very public line. What a dumb ass.

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

[ Parent ]
Call their bluff. (0.00 / 0)
The only way they can prevail is if the White House is secretly backing them. And if that's indeed what is going on, we need to know.

How is that??? (0.00 / 0)
I don't get it.  I could guess at what you mean, but could you please explain?

[ Parent ]
if the White House doesn't want a public option (4.00 / 3)
They could quietly encourage senators to block it, and then turn around and say to liberals, well, we tried.

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[ Parent ]
Okay (4.00 / 1)
But that's not what bmull said.  He's saying the anti-PO Senators can't prevail without White House help.  I don't see that.  They just need to vote against cloture.  Maybe he's talking about reconciliation, but even then I haven't seen an explanation that satisfies me as to why the PO opponents won't filibuster the non-budget piece.  I know it will contain only the "non-controversial" parts, but still.

[ Parent ]
The White House only wants to win (4.00 / 2)
I don't think Obama is fundamentally opposed to a public option. He only wants to win on health care reform, IMHO. This is why he didn't take specific stands throughout the debate, but repeated "principles" that reform should follow, such as increasing access to health care insurance for Americans but not increasing the deficit...

[ Parent ]
a win isn't just passing something (0.00 / 0)
you don't pass it and forget it

obama and the dems will own the bill in the future too

[ Parent ]
Maybe.... (4.00 / 1)
You got to remember thought that different people view a win with different criteria.   What you think is a win may be different than what the Senate thinks or the President.    A win to you or to me might mean a comprehensive PO.   A win to someone like Lambert is Single Payer.  A win to the WH may be passing comprehensive reform but not worrying about a PO... they may feel that the bill minus the PO gets the job done OR getting initial framework into place is the most important thing and then adding more things as time goes on (this is speculative).   They will own the bill, but they may see it as a big win getting something passed that hasn't been able to be passed in 50 plus years...   As much as I want to see a PO, there is a LOT of good things besides the PO in that bill... ending of coverage caps, ending of pre-existing coverage, ending of Insurance companies dropping people because they are sick.    

Please don't take this as an endorsement of NOT having a PO.   I'll be pissed to all hell if it isn't in the final bill.  But that also doesn't mean that it is a complete failure if it isn't.   Its just not as big a victory.

[ Parent ]
As you say, "getting initial framework into place" (0.00 / 0)
is what I meant as a "win."

A really strong Public Option, not to mention single payer, would have been watershed, or ridge line, change.

Sadly, not to be. But maybe someday, just like everything else - total access to choose abortion for all women (world wide) unfettered by funding restrictions.

[ Parent ]
Which is the pragmatic way to see it... (0.00 / 0)
And that's how I think the WH is seeing it.   Where I have an issue with the WH on this is the fact they haven't been fighting tooth and nail in public.   I would have like to see them go to the mat and lose and fall back to a trigger than to that the tact they have been doing it.   I understand their views, I don't like it though.  It reeks of Rahm... stupidly over cautious to the last.

[ Parent ]
I understand the 'initial framework' point (4.00 / 2)
but most voters don't

if big health is free and does jack-up its rates, then voters won't give a damn about frameworks and the other goodies

they'll just abandon the dems

it doesn't really matter what I, you, or obama see as victory. it's what the voters see.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but we don't know how it (HCR) will pan out (0.00 / 0)
yet. Seems to me they have to play the cards on the table.

As somebody else mentioned, Obama administration didn't want to repeat what they decided was the mistake of Bill Clinton - to take a strong position and tell Congress what to do.

Also, consider "most voters" are more concerned about the economy and jobs than health care, at this moment.

If the Dems lose in 2010 and 2012, it will be because the jobless recovery is still going on.

[ Parent ]
are there any other cost-control measures I'm not aware of? (4.00 / 1)
because if there aren't, then big health WILL raise rates

it would be naive for us to hope they won't

and when they do, you know who'll be blamed

Also, consider "most voters" are more concerned about the economy and jobs than health care, at this moment.


that doesn't mean that they aren't/won't be paying attention to health care

If the Dems lose in 2010 and 2012, it will be because the jobless recovery is still going on.

too many ifs there, we'll see what happens

[ Parent ]
Theorectically antitrust (0.00 / 0)
but thats a long shot.

[ Parent ]
You got to stop looking at it like that... (0.00 / 0)
At this point the party owns it.    You have to stop looking at the political ramifications good or bad and work on passing it.     If it fails, we are just as screwed if not more so.    I'd rather roll the dice with the above scenario you mention than to let it fail and not pass anything at all.    Fail or Succeed, we own healthcare and face the ramifications.     We might as well work to get the best choice possible.

That's the short sighted problem plaguing Lincoln, Nelson, Landrieu and Lieberman.   They seem to think that voting for the PO may cost them their job.   They aren't far thinking enough to realize NOT voting for it will be just as disasterous if not more so.

[ Parent ]
It's also temperamental (4.00 / 2)
Obama, and by extension his administration, is not a bomb-throwing partisan with a clear manifesto he wants to put through. He's a reformer without a programme. He doesn't mind what kind of reform, because he doesn't have a particularly strong opinion on any of it.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
Wow... (0.00 / 0)
That's a fantastic analysis of it!    A reformer without an agenda...

[ Parent ]
2010/2012? (4.00 / 1)
I never understood Rahm's position on this.  Everything is negotiable except success?  What the hell does that mean?  It sure SOUNDS like there is going to be a whole lot of turd polishing going on.

Just passing ANYTHING doesn't get them votes in 2010/2012.  They can pass something so bad that they lose votes in 2010 and 2012.  Obviously, the Republicans want to poison the HCR bill if they cannot totally block it, so you can be sure they're be piling on amendments (apparently with the help of the Blue Dogs) to make sure it's a crummy bill.  So this is what the left has been debating - is this bill really that good?

And I think this is REALLY what scares Rahm.  The Progressives are going to call it like they see it, and ruin Rahm's little victory dance if they pass a piece of crap.

[ Parent ]
I think that's exactly what's happening (0.00 / 0)


"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
Reid should get on the floor of the Senate (4.00 / 2)
and explain to the American people that everyone's had to compromise to get this bill. A public option that was once envisioned to have 120 million members will now have less than 4 million. It's basically a pilot project which analysts agree will pose no threat. He should say that there will consequences for those who aren't willing to compromise including loss of chairmanships and committee assignments, and de-funding of pet projects. He should point out that he is probably the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate so he has little sympathy for those unwilling to take a risky vote. Finally, he should ask Obama to publicly make the case as well. And if we don't see Obama step up and back the Senate leader, then we know there is a backroom deal.

[ Parent ]
Hmm... (0.00 / 0)
Maybe.   You could also argue Obama wants a health care victory and is scared of something happening similar to Clinton's plan and will back anything that will win.    

[ Parent ]
Reid & Obama should say "up-or-down" vote (4.00 / 2)
at every opportunity. All members of the caucus should be saying that at every opportunity. The administration, every g.d. Democrat in Washington - they should all be saying "we just want an up-or-down vote on the public option." "We just think that the majority of the Senate deserves an up-or-down vote on this."

The meme needs to be hammered home that all this procedural mumbo-jumbo is just a means of thwarting the will of the people as expressed in last year's election.

That might work, unless, of course, there are too many Senators - and an entire administration - who would rather not have an up-or-down vote.

[ Parent ]
How This Plays Out - Key Questions (4.00 / 1)
Chris, assuming the 3 L's (and maybe Nelson) are not bluffing, am I right that these are the questions that will need to be answered?:

1) Will we have enough progressive Dem Senators to filibuster a trigger amendment?

2) If the answer to 1) is YES, will Reid use Reconciliation?

3) If the answer to 2) is NO, will Reid withdraw the Bill and Reintroduce with a trigger rather than opt-out provision?

4) If the answer to 1) is NO or the answer to 3) is YES, will we have enough progressive Dem Senators to filibuster the overall bill with a trigger option (assuming Republicans minus Snowe would join in this fillibuster?).  

I'll give it a shot... (4.00 / 3)
1) Probably

2) Doubtful, most of his statements have taken it off the table.

3) Good question.

4) I'd say no.   Progressive Dems aren't going to kill this bill completely.    There are some very very good things in this bill such as removal of coverage caps, removal of pre-existing conditions, removing the ability for insurance companies to drop sick patients, etc.     Dems will NOT kill those things.     There will be hemming and hawing, but I don't think that will happen.  

If the trigger is added, my feeling is progressives will work to A) make it easy to trigger and B) make the PO in the Trigger as strong and comprehensive as possible....    Like Medicare +5% strong.

Not sure, I guess we'll see how it progresses.  But this bill will not be killed.    

[ Parent ]
Since there's no difference between procedural (0.00 / 0)
and substantive votes anymore, Lincoln and Landrieu have both expressed support for the bill by voting against the first filibuster.  Do they really think that the teabaggers won't have this vote around their necks?  If they're in this far, they might as well go all the way.

This is about money not votes (4.00 / 3)

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
Lincoln and Landrieu, like Lieberman, have agreed to allow the bill to proceed to debate and amendments.  They both have serious reservations about the public option (as does Ben Nelson), with Lincoln saying today, essentially echoing Lieberman, that she will filibuster allowing the bill to proceed to a final vote if it contains a PO.  Senator Lincoln's quote:

I've already alerted the Leader and I'm promising my colleagues that I'm prepared to vote against moving to the next stage of consideration as long as a government run public option is included.

With Lieberman's no there simply are not 60 votes for a health reform bill containing a public option in the Senate.  The PO is done.

[ Parent ]
Please (4.00 / 2)
They don't give a flying fuck about the PO.   They care because their donors who are against it think the PO is bad for business.    Please don't respond like you did, it seems to imply these jack asses have a moral issue with the PO.   They don't.   They are scum and frankly if Blanche fucks us on this, I'll donate to her primary challenger.  If he or she loses, she won't see a dime in the General.  

As for Joementum, I hope reid threatens that Dbag with loss of his chair.    You know if split was 50 GOPers and 49 Dems, Joementum would go with the GOPers.

[ Parent ]
Joementum...ha ha (0.00 / 0)
You can't hide seabos..

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't break in traffic for Lieberman. (0.00 / 0)
He's the worst kind of human being.

[ Parent ]
Me neither - squash the Dbag (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
no money for the DSCC (4.00 / 3)
let Lincoln lose next year. She is worthless in the caucus, and I'd rather have Stabenow chairing the Ag Committee.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

I'll wait to see if she is blowing smoke... (0.00 / 0)
But yes, if she does fuck us, I'll donate big time to her primary challenger and not a dime to the DSCC.

[ Parent ]
Something's really odd about this whole process (4.00 / 2)
I mean two months ago the public option was dead, now it's in the House and Senate bills. Two months ago we wanted to boot Baucus in the nuts because he excluded a public option from his bill, but now it's in, and he hasn't said he would filibuster it. Absolutely nothing is fixed in stone, and yet, somehow, miraculously, the public option keeps hanging on for dear life and jumping over the hurdles despite a number of threats.

I think some of this is already decided, just as Reid knew he had the 60 votes today, and that what we're seeing is a lot of smoke. Call it infinity chess, but I have a hard time taking anything at face value at this point. I just have a really hard time picturing democratic senators joining the republicans on a filibuster. It's just not going to happen. I don't think the public option is getting gutted either, otherwise it would have been long gone by now.

The strategy must be something like getting this thing to the other end of the debate with a bunch of uncertainties in the air, just enough to appease nearly everyone, and then at the last second snap the bill through before an insurmountable defense can be raised.

They figured out they can't kill the PO outright (4.00 / 6)
They tried--that's why they let the teabaggers rail all summer long without doing much to oppose them. They hoped that voters would forget all about it.

Much to their surprise, once Congress reconvened, the public option was still very popular, and a movement had developed to preserve it, coordinated by online activists.

They can't kill it outright, in public. That would be political poison.

So it's death by a thousand cuts then. They're lowering our standards, bit by bit, taking little nibbles out of the PO until the whole cookie's gone. They're wearing out our patience, running out the clock and throwing up this distraction and that distraction until we're so exhausted and confused that we no longer know what it is we want, and they can push through a totally ineffectual "public option" along with a bunch of insurance industry goodies, such as mandates.

This is all a show being put on for our benefit. They already know what they want--a giveaway to the insurance companies--and their goal is to convince us that we want it too.

[ Parent ]
Yes, it's all a show - (4.00 / 1)
The Democrats are going to win on this one - and I also agree the netroots made a huge contribution.

That's the silver lining. The Democrats are going to survive this, but Progressives are back to square one. What to do with this f*!%#$ up Democratic Party.

[ Parent ]
What about fixing it in conference? (0.00 / 0)
Why can't they strike some kind of smoke and mirrors compromise with these silly senators and then put the real bill together in conference?  Can anyone explain who is part of the conference committee?  Does the makeup include Republicans?  If not (or even so), they wouldn't be able to stop a merging of the House and Senate bills that could, ultimately, include a PO.  If I understand the process correctly, the final bill (with a PO) goes back to the House and Senate for a majority rules, up or down vote.  Such a bill could pass the House and also the Senate - screw the 4 senators post conference committee. 50 + 1 is doable.

What am I missing?

The conference report can be filibustered too. (0.00 / 0)
It rarely happens, but it usually gives the Senate the upper hand in conference negotiations. But word is they are not going to do a full conference committee. Reid is going to hash out a deal with Nancy Pelosi at the same time as the bill is moving through the Senate to try to expedite things. This was done for the stimulus bill too.

[ Parent ]
the republicrats are already enthused about the next elections (0.00 / 0)
if the dems pass a po-health care bill they'll enthuse their base too

if they kill the po, 2010 won't be nice

lincoln (4.00 / 1)
from what I've seen there are AR voters that'll turn against her if she votes no and also there are AR voters that'll turn against her if she votes no on hcr

isn't the best thing she could do to vote for cloture and then vote no for hcr? I can't see how saying 'I helped kill the public option' is better than voting for cloture and then no. that way she can still say 'I voted no' but escape the anger of liberals since a public option will have passed

If she cared about voters (4.00 / 2)
She cares about PAC money. She figures voters are buyable and corporate money looks at your record.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
We're down to four options (0.00 / 0)
1) Public option supporters cave and a neutered, steak saucy triggered co-op'y plan gets 60 votes.

2) Public option supporters stand firm with their own filibuster threats and the Conservadems cave for steak sauce window-dressing changes to get 60 votes.

3) Public option supporters stand firm and the Conservadems stand firm. It becomes clear no compromise can get 60 votes. We go to reconciliation.

4) Public option supporters stand firm and the Conservadems stand firm. It becomes clear no compromise can get 60 votes. They give up and health care reform dies.

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

Well (0.00 / 0)
Reid seems to have eliminated reconciliation based on some of the quotes I read, so I'd say 3 is out.  I'm not sure either group has the balls to kill all reform.     So my guess it will be 1 or 2.   I'm hoping for 2.

[ Parent ]
Don't rule out #3 (0.00 / 0)
If faced with the #3 choice the only other option is #4. At that point Reid may sing a different tune on reconciliation.

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

[ Parent ]

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