This is dismal. Both Jay Rockfeller (my Democratic Senator from here in WV) and Chuck Schumer, D-NY, proposed Public Option amendments to the Finance Committee’s bill… and 3 Democrats voted against Schumer, 5 voted against Rockefeller. The leading Democrat to step on the Public Option was Chairman Max Baucus. The one Republican who people seem to think might go along with a bill, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, also voted against both amendments.
My amendment to add a public option to the Senate Finance Committee bill came up just two votes short of being adopted by the full committee this afternoon.
This is unfortunate news but not a surprise. Remember, the Senate Finance Committee is more conservative than the Senate as a whole. And 4 out of 5 Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care reform have passed a public option.
This is the opening day of our fight, and I will continue to work to improve the health care reform bill as we take the legislation to the Senate floor.
Some of the other Democratic Senators are now looking at bringing the Public Option to the Senate Floor and polling is showing increasing support by the voting public. Baucus is sitting on the $3.4 Million that the Insurance companies have invested in his campaigns and working as hard as he can to keep them in the catbird seat.
Snowe is getting pushed hard by her constituency as well:
So far the 4 proposals from House Committees and the one other Senate Committee bill HAVE a Public Option… Eventually this has all got to be brought together as one bill… and whether it can get 60 Senate votes to avoid a Republican filibuster, or the mere fifty votes necessary for a “reconciliation,” will remain to be seen.
I’m willing to campaign against ALL Democrats who work against what the majority of Americans want and need. Millions of others will be playing on the same team. Baucus should wise up.