Wall Street Journal reports that Joseph Lieberman has drawn a line in the sand on Obamacare. If any form of the public option is included, he will not vote for the bill:
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, speaking in that trademark sonorous baritone, utters a simple statement that translates into real trouble for Democratic leaders: "I'm going to be stubborn on this."
Stubborn, he means, in opposing any health-care overhaul that includes a "public option," or government-run health-insurance plan, as the current bill does. His opposition is strong enough that Mr. Lieberman says he won't vote to let a bill come to a final vote if a public option is included.
Probe for a catch or caveat in that opposition, and none is visible. Can he support a public option if states could opt out of the plan, as the current bill provides? "The answer is no," he says in an interview from his Senate office. "I feel very strongly about this." How about a trigger, a mechanism for including a public option along with a provision saying it won't be used unless private insurance plans aren't spreading coverage far and fast enough? No again.
So any version of a public option will compel Mr. Lieberman to vote against bringing a bill to a final vote? "Correct," he says.
Huffington Post reports that Former DNC Chair Howard Dean has told them that Senate Democrats are "in deep trouble."
"So this is really tough. I didn't anticipate being in this position. I thought it would pass. Maybe Harry has some magic up his sleeve. But I don't see how he gets those four votes [Sens. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.)] without compromising the bill," Dean concluded.
The former Vermont governor warned that if the party allowed the four moderates to further water down the bill (or defeat it altogether) it could lead to primary challenges or a drop in fundraising from the party's base.
"If you have members refusing to vote for Reid on procedural issues you will have a revolt in the party," Dean said. "What is the point of having a 60-vote margin? This is going to be death for the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and the [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee]. Why would anyone donate to them if they're supporting candidates who defeat the Democratic agenda?"
Last but not least, The Hill with some choice Lieberman quotes peppered through their piece titled "One year after retaining his gavel, Lieberman threatens health bill."
Lieberman criticized the bill crafted by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), which does not call for a public option and is viewed as the most conservative bill put forward by a Democratic leader.
In an interview on Fox Business Network last month, Lieberman said, “I’m afraid that in the end the Baucus bill is actually going to raise the price of insurance for most of the people in the country.
“If you ask me, I’d say we should really focus on what’s called healthcare delivery reform,” Lieberman added. “To me, the first big step is to make some changes that really do bend the increasing costs of healthcare down.”
Pressed on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Lieberman emphasized his yes vote on Saturday to proceed to debate on healthcare reform
“I voted [Saturday] night, as 59 others did, to go along with debate,” said Lieberman. “But I want us to begin not only debating healthcare reform, but doing something about healthcare reform. I don’t think anybody thinks this bill will pass as written.”
On his position as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Lieberman states "Look, I’m grateful my colleagues enabled me to continue as chairman. I hope that I’ve done a good job, including the Fort Hood hearings … But when the caucus welcomed me back into the caucus and enabled me to continue as chairman of the committee, I think they understood that I’d been reelected as an Independent, and that I wasn’t going to view issues through the prism of partisan politics, but that I’d do what I thought made sense — for my state, for my country. And that’s what I’ve done. I certainly didn’t sign on to walk the party line, whenever anybody showed me where it was."
It has been suggested by many that Reid will push the public option right to the edge, so that he can say he "tried", then drop it in order to get a bill, any bill labeled "Healthcare reform", passed.