The Huffington Post originally reported that Rahm Emanuel told Harry Reid to cave into Joe Lieberman's demands. TPMDC backed up the story, and went even further:
Then the aide provided more detail.
Emanuel didn't just leave it to Reid to find a solution. Emanuel specifically suggested Reid give Lieberman the concessions he seeks on issues like the Medicare buy-in and triggers.
"It was all about 'do what you've got to do to get it done. Drop whatever you've got to drop to get it done," the aide said. All of Emanuel's prescriptions, the source said, were aimed at appeasing Lieberman--not twisting his arm.
I contacted a Senate aide to further confirm the story. When I asked the aide if the Huffington Post and TPMDC stories were true, the aide responded "absolutely."
Further, the aide confirmed that Joe Lieberman is lying (I'm not exaggerating the language). Immediately after the Gang of Ten struck a deal on the public option, Harry Reid contacted Lieberman to hear his thoughts. Lieberman indicated that he was liking what he was seeing, and just wanted to wait for the CBO score. For him to change without the CBO score is mendacity, pure and simple.
Finally, the aide also said that this is still about saving lives. We keep talking about cost, but this bill still saves lives. For all of its tremendous disappointments, the aide kept emphasizing that the bill saves lives. This shows, if nothing else, that Alan Grayson's messaging appears to have won the day for Democrats.
I don't really know what to think right now. Too angry to think straight. After a very long campaign, we had appeared to secure a deal that I thought was acceptable. We promptly get stabbed in the back by none other than Joe Lieberman (and the CBO, btw), and then just as promptly told by the White House to accept it all.
The cloture motion on health care reform will be filed either tomorrow or Thursday, setting up a vote two days later. With a very crowded legislative schedule, and demands from the White Hosue to pass the bill in 2009, there really isn't any other option. My bet is that Olympia Snowe will probably vote for the bill now, as will Roland Burris. All of this makes even the unlikely prospect of a no vote from Bernie Sanders on the cloture motion irrelevant. Barring further mendacity, this bill now has sixty votes.
The next step will be the conference committee, unless the White House demands that also gets thrown in the trash to appease Lieberman, or Nelson, or whoever.