White House says there are not enough votes to pass public option, but doesn't say who is opposed

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 16:05


( - promoted by Daniel De Groot)

So, the White House doesn't think there are enough votes to pass the public option through reconciliation:

Speaking at the daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked again why the administration did not include the government-run insurance option in its final health care proposal in light of the fact that 23 Democratic senators signed a letter calling for its passage.

"We have seen obviously that though there are some that are supportive of this, there isn't enough political support in a majority to get this through," Gibbs responded. "The president... took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday."

How do we know Gibbs is right?  We don't.  He claims there are not enough votes, but he dd not provide evidence to substantiate that claim.

We have been counting votes here on Open Left.  With the addition of Senator Inoyue this morning, there are now 25 Senators on the record as favoring passing a public option through reconciliation.  Tom Carper is about ready to make it 26.  Six are opposed, and six others are likely supporters.

It is true that there are not enough Senators on record to pass the public option at this time.  However, there are also not enough opponents on the public record to rule it out. For the public option to truly be dead, ten Democratic Senators have to state that they will never vote for it under any circumstances.  That hasn't happened.

The White House could simply prove that there are not enough votes to pas the public option by listing the Senators who would oppose it.  However, they haven't provided any names--just a vague claim that there are not enough votes. There is no proof to back up Gibbs' claim.

It isn't just the White House or the public option, either.  Progressives are consistently told that there are not enough votes to pass a wide variety of legislation.  However, the people making these claims rarely, if ever, actually provide a list of opponents proving that there are not enough votes.  Even though that is exactly the sort of public service that political journalism should provide, and even though that is exactly the sort of transparency people deserve from their government, neither the established political media nor the government is willing to provide it.

Give us some proof.  I will believe there are not enough votes to pass the public option after ten members of the Democratic caucus go on record opposing it.  And, even then, as long as we only need to change a handful of votes, I will keep fighting.  

Chris Bowers :: White House says there are not enough votes to pass public option, but doesn't say who is opposed

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What's more worrisome.... (4.00 / 1)
..is that Hoyer commented today that there may not be enough house votes for ANY comprehensive reform of ANY type.  This after extremely positive comments this morning.  So, it seems that the leadership is schizophrenic....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201...

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!


This is just insane (4.00 / 3)
After weeks of House leaders saying the only way the House will pass the Senate bill is with a reconciliation fix, the gang that can't shoot straight at 1600 Penn finally gets on board -- only to have the House Majority Leader indicate 'oops, maybe we can't get it done?'

Meanwhile, the gang that can't shoot straight is raising expectations about the HCR summit without any apparent coordination on talking points, strategy and communications with Hill Dems.

What a potential clusterfuck! The only thing worse than letting HCR die would be to revive it and then fail.

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


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raising expectations (0.00 / 0)
I still don't see what this health care summit is supposed to accomplish.  What is it for?  So why are they raising expectations for it?

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Remember why Rahm was hired.. (0.00 / 0)
What Rahm did for Clinton was to cover his ass and keep him in office, by any means.
Think of Clinton or Obama as the Godfather, and Rahm Emanuel as Luca Brasi, the chief assassin.

Meetings are called to settle disputes...disputes the WH is having with both sides.
http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/stagef...

But the Right has had their say - everyone in the country knows where they stand.  And they're winning the argument.
This meeting is a final show for the Democrats who refuse to play ball with Emanuel and Reid,  to give Democrats the final warning that they better pass what they're given - or else.



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


[ Parent ]
I don't worry too much about Hoyer. (4.00 / 2)
But the numbers in the House are pretty clear about the Public Option. They lost a few members since the last vote, they will lose some "Stupid Stupak" insisters (say goodbye to Cao of Louisiana). Where do they get votes to replace these? Only (possibly) from Blue Dogs who will not vote PO.

I don't worry too much about Hoyer, who has never said anything remotely persuasive in favor of HCR. Obama has, and will trump Hoyer. Whether he can be persuasive enough to penetrate some dense Democratic "minds" is debatable. I'm pulling for him though.

So Chris, what about the House? I agree that 50 in the Senate seems remotely possible. Why pass a PO reconciliation bill in the Senate only to have it sink in the House, along with the rest of HCR? Some cogent anaylsis, please.


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Blue Dogs may vote for PO (0.00 / 0)
if it's part of the overall bill and they have to get the overall bill passed.

Remember, we had around 208-210 votes for the strong public option based on Medicare rates.  It shouldn't be too hard to find an extra 8-10 votes for a negotiated rates one.

In any case, there may be some Stupak voters who are otherwise liberal, and they may be persuadable.


[ Parent ]
Hoyer and Reid can make it happen - or not. (0.00 / 0)
And these two birds have obviously decided - NOT.

Hoyer and for that matter Clyburn too are and have been Emanuel cronies and Reid is on the leash of anyone with money and power.
Obama is playing us all, again. And I'm getting pissed@!

They're also the epitome of why centrists can't and shouldn't be leaders - they've nothing to lose if their own party loses.

Speaking of which, since when has Steve McMcMahan become a revisionist and Rahm Emanuels' spokesman/bitch??  On MSNBC he said it's Rahm who pushes all the "progressive, centrist" policies and would have you believe that without Rahm the Dems and Obama would be failures.
Wow.

But Steve also once said that only a few members of Congress were involved with Jack Abramoff.  

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


[ Parent ]
I really hate this argument... (4.00 / 4)
I think David has mentioned it before, but it's the laziest non-argument for not passing legislation.  If the WH was serious about the PO they could get the vots... Some kind of expression of support would probably get the 50 votes they need on board.  Just saying "it doesn't have votes" is a really lame excuse.

I hope they can get something with the PO on the floor to vote on... that way we can see who's actually serious about it and who's just interested in kabuki theater.


Yeah (0.00 / 0)
And by this illogic, as Armando points out, Obama would be dropping health care reform altogether, since right now the votes aren't there in the House to pass this thing.  

[ Parent ]
The fierce urgency of done deals only (4.00 / 1)
Bold follower Obama defines the Democratic party of his era...

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

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Oh, I don't know (4.00 / 6)
The White House put the hammer down pretty well to pass war funding, get Bernanke confirmed, and keep the Pharma deal intact.

Obama fights, just not for anything remotely progressive.  


[ Parent ]
For all the hew and cry... (4.00 / 2)
...those were all done deals too. Pushing to hold a soft majority is different than twisting arms to achieve one, though I'm sure they see the former as bold leadership...

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

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I agree, to an extent (4.00 / 4)
I mean, it's easier to pass something supported by moneyed interests, but to cite one example there was real movement against Bernanke that Obama and his allies quashed. Presidential leadership matters -- that's the point.  

[ Parent ]
I just read... (0.00 / 0)
That their new plan blows up their Pharma deal actually because of some regulation on generic/brand name "settlements" (where a brand name drug maker will pay off generics to hold off on producing generic versions of the drug).  Would be good news if true.

[ Parent ]
where did you read this? (0.00 / 0)
I'm writing a history of the drug industry -- this kind of stuff goes back a long time.

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work? (0.00 / 0)
What, you expect the president to get up and work to change Senators' minds about something?  That's an awful lot to ask.  He's too busy pondering existence, or whatever.

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Is there any way to pressure any of the (4.00 / 1)
main journalists (like Chucky Todd) who get a question in every daily briefing, to ask him to name names? An e-mail campaign?

John McCain won't insure children

called Dodd's people (4.00 / 7)
They say he's for the public option but against doing it through reconciliation. Since the P.O. ain't happening any other way, he's against the public option.

There is no one who tries harder to appear as though he's a liberal lion, but who actually isn't, than Chris Dodd. What a phony.  


Usually Senators act cool when they announce retirement, (4.00 / 1)
but Dodd has turned into a real a-hole!

John McCain won't insure children

[ Parent ]
And, magster, our great liberal Senator Mark Udall (4.00 / 2)
is reading from the same playbook as Dodd, Obama, Rockefeller.  He is still 'thinking about signing the letter.'  What a betrayal to his father (the sainted Morris) and to us.  This is showtime, Marky, time's up! If you're not with us, you're agin' us.  And you're obviously not with us.  So, who does Udall really represent in all this? Voters dying without health care, or the insurance industry?  Maybe Marky needs a little time to think about that, too!

Decarbonize, Deglobalize, Demilitarize

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Oh now he pretends to play by the rules.. (0.00 / 0)
.. is Carper and Rockefeller.

Apparently only 23 Dems are upset by the Republicans gross abuse of the rules.  How stunning and despicable.

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


[ Parent ]
New and Improved WH (4.00 / 2)
now with 100% more BS!!!


Did you read Greenwald? (4.00 / 4)
The Democratic Party's deceitful game By Glenn Greenwald  It is way past time to quit fooling ourselves that anything is going to change.  I think it is time for a real change.    

We know who is opposed (4.00 / 1)
Obama is opposed to the public option. He just doesn't want to have to go through the public embarrassment of vetoing it, so he's squashing it now.

http://www.funnyordie.com/jame...

So let's force a Senate vote to get more names.. (4.00 / 1)
According to Ezra Klein the uncommitted Senate Dems are almost too scared to move.

If we have that many Senators too afraid of standing up for their own constituents,  we should all hear why they shouldn't be fired and sent packing.

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


[ Parent ]
Hello AmerIca... (0.00 / 0)
Show me one shred of evidence that Obama wants the public option?

not even as a negotiating device as atrios said (4.00 / 1)
I Think They Made Their Position Clear

The White House released their health plan. It didn't contain a public option. Their health plan didn't have to be the final say, it could just be a negotiating document, but they didn't even bother to put it in, to pretend they wanted it. Contra Ezra, they did lead, they expressed their preferences. They may or may not publicly beat back a public option if it shows any chance of being revived in the Senate, but they have made their desires known.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/20...

What about the effing medicare expansion at least? (4.00 / 1)
afaik, not even this is in the Obama bill! Does he want to tell us the votes aren't there for it? Who does he want to fool? The Dems already had 59 Senators supporting that!

Really, WHY is this missing, if the president allegedly supports the po? He should jump at this compromise!


Carper is anti-public option (0.00 / 0)
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo...

Not really surprising - he is barely distinguishable from Mike Castle.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


Although I would prefer a public option to be included... (0.00 / 0)
...I think that the bill the president is endorsing that includes the option of choosing from the range of plans offered to federal employees and office holders is adequate.

The problem with us continuing to obsess with the public option is that it takes away the focus from all of the other important things that are in the current bill.

We need to work on making sure that congress adopts this plan and the quibbling amongst democrats needs to stop on this bill.


If there's going to be a mandate for individuals to buy insurance (4.00 / 1)
there needs to be a government-run choice.  It's that simple.  The FEHBP is not an adequate substitute since those are still private insurers.

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