Blog Archives

Debate Audience Does It Again…

It was bad enough that the Republican debate audience did the “let them die” chant at the previous gathering of dolts, last night they booed a gay soldier who asked a reasonable question: would these clowns back up the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.:

Take a look if you missed it:

If , as is estimated by some analysts, the gay population is about ten percent of the voting block, these damned fools don’t seem to mind that they’ve cut off another vote source.<img title=”Send Us Mail” src=”https://underthelobsterscope.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ppals1.jpg” alt=”” width=”72″ height=”72″ />

Alan Grayson Needs Our Help…

Grayson is about 80% of the way to getting 100 signers to co-sponsor his “Medicare You Can Buy Into Act,” a stronger public option that would be available to everyone. Now that the basic Health Care plan has gone through, it’s time to start working on a public option for all Americans.

You can join the cause by calling your Representative. Go HERE for more info.
Act Blue is raising funds to support his effort. Click HERE.

The Byrd Rule – Senate Parliamentarian rules that Health Care Bill must go back to the House…

Now it is up to Nancy Pelosi to get the Public Option back in. It looks like the votes may be there in the House.

Here’s a clip. but the whole article is worth reading:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Senate Republicans succeeded early Thursday morning in finding two flaws in the House-passed health care reconciliation package. Neither is of any substance, but the Senate parliamentarian informed Democratic leaders that both are in violation of the Byrd Rule.

One is related to Pell Grants and the other makes small technical corrections. Why they’re in violation of the Byrd Rule doesn’t matter; the upshot is that Republicans will succeed in at least slightly altering the legislation, which means that the House is once again required to vote on it. With no substantial changes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should have little problem assembling the same coalition of 220 Democrats who passed the measure Sunday night. That’s already four more than the minimum 216 required for passage.

But the ruling might give Democrats another option — the public one.

The Senate is now free to put to the test that much-debated question of whether 50 votes exist for a public option.
  blog it

Even when the current Health Care Bill passes, folks will still be seeking the Public Option…

Harry Reid seems sincere in saying he’ll bring up a separate vote on it later.

Here’s a clip from a HuffPo article:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Reid
Hoping to assuage progressive Democrats who remain disappointed with the content of the health care reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) committed on Friday to holding a separate vote on a public option in the coming months.
In a letter to two of his more progressive colleagues in the Senate — Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — the Nevada Democrat implicitly apologized for his inability to get a government-run insurance plan into the final piece of health care legislation and promised to keep working to get the policy into law.
“Nevertheless, like you, I remain committed to pursuing the public option. While I believe that the legislation we are considering does much to provide affordable coverage to millions of Americans and curb insurance company abuses, I also believe that the public option would provide additional competition to make insurance even more affordable.”
blog it

“Medicare You Can Buy Into”… I like that.

Check out the article reproduced in OpEd News that shows support for the Public Option through Reconciliation.

Here’s a clip… there’s much more:

clipped from www.opednews.com

Health care reform poised to pass; 41 senators support public option
The White House predicted today that the president’s health care
reform plan will pass the House this week and, in a related development,
even the public option is looking like a very real possibility.
Robert Gibbs, the president’s press secretary, warned Republicans
that if they make health care an issue in the November elections, “they
do so at their own peril.”
“Make my day,” senior White House political advisor David Axelrod
said. “Let’s have that fight. I’m ready to have that – and every member
of Congress ought to be willing to have that debate as well.”
As of today, meanwhile, 41 Senators had either signed or issued
statements of support for a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid urging
passage of the Public Option through reconciliation.
The Public Option Act, as it is officially
named, is being called the Medicare You Can Buy Into Act by lawmakers.
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Nancy Pelosi says there are not enough votes in the Senate for a Public Option…

… and that’s why she’s keeping it out of the House bill. However, Progressive Chance Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and Credo Action have put together a television ad (that they are raising funds to get on right away) which says the votes ARE there by looking at statements made by the so far uncommitted Senate members.

Take a look:

They are looking for $3.00 contributions from as many people possible… and they need it NOW. Go HERE if you can make a contribution.

Crap!

I don’t buy it. I don’t believe it. If Public Option is not included it is because Pelosi, Reid and the President, despite what they say, do not support it.
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that she would not include a public option in a health care reconciliation package that the House will send to the Senate.
“We’re talking about something that is not going to be part of the legislation,” Pelosi said, noting “with sadness” that the public insurance option won’t be part of legislation. “I’m quite sad that the public option is not in there,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, a spokesman to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Majority Whip, said Durbin would “aggressively whip” a health care bill that included a public option.
Pelosi, however, put the onus back on the Senate, saying that the chamber didn’t have the votes needed for it.
“It did not prevail. What we will have in reconciliation will be something that is agreed upon, House and Senate, that they can pass and we can pass… It isn’t in there because they don’t have the votes.”
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This from Greg Sargent’s THE PLUM LINE:

clipped from theplumline.whorunsgov.com

Bernie Sanders: I’m Prepared To Introduce Public Option Amendment

The public option just might get its straight up-or-down vote after all.

Senator Bernie Sanders, in a brief interview in the Capitol just now, confirmed to me that he’s willing to commit to introducing an amendment that would add the public option to the Senate bill’s reconciliation fix.

This is important, because as far fetched as this seems, if this amendment is introduced, a vote on it would be very hard for the Senate Dem leadership to block. The only thing that could stop it from happening, according to Senate expert Robert Dove, is for the parliamentarian to rule that it’s not germane to the Senate bill somehow — something that seems unlikely.

“I think somebody should do that, and I’d certainly be prepared to do that,” Sanders told me when I asked him if he’d be willing to commit to introducing a public option amendment. This is, in effect, a commitment to introduce the amendment if no one else does.

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There’s more if you click through to http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/bernie-sanders-im-prepared-to-introduce-public-option-amendment… and let’s hear it for Bernie Sanders!

____

41 have signed the Public Option Letter

Senator Bill Nelson (D – FL) became number 41 this afternoon. If only 9 more sigh we have the fifty which will get it through the Senate (with the VP’s tiebreaker).

This is something Nancy Pelosi can hold up to the House, who has to vote on this first, then we’ll be that much closer.

It is time to make the Lies the Republicans are telling vanish…

I was listening to someone on the TV this morning, Morning Joe, I guess (I was reading my e-mail and didn’t look up) who was saying that Americans (a group which you know from previous posts that I think I belong to) are against using Reconciliation to get Health Care Reform.

Well, there is some polling going on over at whipcongress.com that looks at a range of seven states across the political spectrum which comes up with results that I think are much more significant.

Here’s one:

If the Senate passes a health care reform bill that you consider to be beneficial to your family, would you object to the Senate’s use of “reconciliation” rules to pass that bill with a majority vote, or not?

I find North Dakota particularly interesting (although Senator Dorgan has now joined the Public Option letter) since it is used by the Republicans as an example of anti-Health Care legislation standing.  And look at Iowa… Tom Harkin hasn’t come on Board with the Public Option letter yet… maybe he should.

The Count is now 40…

… 40 senators have spoken out so far — including Harry Reid.

Ten more and we can add a Public Option to the Reconciliation Bill.

If you want the full list go to http://whipcongress.com.

Public Option In The Senate: The Magic Number has reached 37!

37 senators have now declared they would support a public option in “reconciliation,” the process of majority rules. We’re just 13 away from the magic number 50!

Unfortunately, here in West Virginia, both Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, our Senators, have steadfastly refused to support the Public Option on the reconciliation bill.

If you are in WV (or even if you are not!) you can call their offices and urge them to come out in support of the Public Option. Here are the phone numbers:

Senator Robert Byrd: (202) 224-3954
Senator John Rockefeller: (202) 224-6472
If you need a script when speaking with their offices, here’s one from BoldProgressives.org:

Hi — my name is [NAME] and I live in [TOWN].

I’d like to speak with the Legislative Assistant in charge of health care, to ask them if the senator can issue a simple statement supporting the public option in reconciliation.

AWAIT ANSWER

Will you issue a public statement saying that Sen. [NAME] will vote yes on a public option like the one the House passed if it comes up under reconciliation rules? For example, Sen. Durbin’s spokesperson said “if the House version of the public option came up for a vote in reconciliation Sen. Durbin would vote yes.”

AWAIT ANSWER

If they agree to issue a statement: Thanks. Can you email your statement to staff@whipcongress.com?

This script is good for YOUR Senator, too, if they haven’t signed on.

The Count of Senators Favoring the Public Option is Now 35

Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) brings the new count of Senators favoring a Public Option to 35.

You can see the whole list at WhipCongress.com to see if your Senators are there. If they are not, the site will connect you with their phone number so you can call and tell them you want them on the list.

Good hunting, folks!

From TPMDC: Sherrod Brown Will ‘Absolutely’ Push For Public Option Via Separate Legislation

Perhaps the DC crowd has noticed that we all WANT the Public Option (actually, most of us would rather have Universal Coverage without the Insurance Greedosaurs gobbling everything up.)

Here’s the clip:

clipped from tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told reporters today that he would push to pass the public option in its own bill if it doesn’t pass as part of the overall health care bill, The Hill reports.

“I still hope we get it on this. If we don’t get it on this, we can give it a try,” he said.

Asked if that meant passing separate legislation, he answered “Absolutely, absolutely, oh yeah.”

Brown is a staunch supporter of the public option. He’s also one of the original signatories on a letter urging Senate leadership to pass the measure using budget reconciliation.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) said today that Democrats will try to pass fixes to the health care bill using reconciliation, but it’s unclear whether those fixes will include a public option.

  blog it

5 more Senators on the Public Option list… count is now 30

We now include:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D, Ill.)

Patty Murray (D., WA),

Ben Cardin (D., MD)

Jeff Bingaman (D., NM),

and Amy Klobuchar (D., MN).

(I’m missing 2 in my calculations… I’ll check into this. I don’t think we can count Harry Reid yet, although if he sees the majority built up he will support it. Jay Rockefeller seems like a holdout… too bad, as he is my Senator.)

3 More Senators Have Signed On…

… to wanting the Public Option on the Reconciliation Bill:

Tim Johnson  (D-SD)

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Daniel Inouye (D-HI)

That makes 23, not counting Harry Reid.

Ok… Do your part to get us Health Care with a Public Option

President Obama has given the Republicans and conservative Democrats ample opportunity to get on board with health care reform. It’s time to pass health care without them. (and after Thursday’s meeting looking for a Bipartisan deal falls through, that’s all we’ll be able to do).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said if he has the votes, he will pass a bill with the public option. Reid has also said that reconciliation is how he’s going to pass health care, which would require only a simple majority — 51 votes. That means he doesn’t need a single Republican vote.

With 119 House Democrats and 20 Senators calling for passing a public option using reconciliation, we’re getting closer every day to passing real reform. The president has supported the public option in the past. And once this last ditch effort to curry Republican support for change fails, it’s time to pass the bill the president campaigned for.

I just signed a petition that told Congress to pass a good health care reform bill, not just a bipartisan one. I hope you’ll join me.

Sign the Petition.

Add One More Democratic Senator to the Public Option Support Letter

OK… this afternoon we add:
Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

Remember that the Senate is in recess right now… the number should get added to substantially (Menendez is the official #20 if we don’t count Harry Reid) on Monday when they are back in session.

List of Senators for Reconciliation on Health Care Grows…

… and they are looking for a Public Option! My fingers are crossed… I hope this goes all the way to completion.

Anyway, add to our list: Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) (this brings us to 18).

The Democrats have announced a deal on the Health Care Plan

This came out via Reuters this evening:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Democratic negotiators said they had reached agreement on Tuesday on a compromise on a scaled-back public insurance plan in a broad healthcare overhaul and would seek cost estimates on the deal.

HEALTHCARE REFORM

“We have a broad agreement,” Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told reporters, refusing to give details on the proposals that will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office.

The government-run plan, along with the issue of abortion, was one of the two biggest hurdles remaining for the overhaul, which is President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

A team of 10 Senate Democrats — five liberals and five moderates — had been working for days on a substitute to the government-run plan included in the Senate bill, which has dismayed some moderates.

Democratic Senate sources said the substitute proposal would create a non-profit plan operated by private insurers but administered by the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises health coverage for federal workers.

The sources said negotiators also sought cost estimates on an expansion of the Medicare health program for the elderly, which is now available at age 65, to Americans as young as 55 who could “buy-in” to the coverage.

“Insurance companies will certainly have more competition,” Reid said of the deal. “The American people will certainly have more choices.”

The other potential hurdle to the healthcare overhaul was abortion, and the Senate on Tuesday rejected an attempt to tighten restrictions on abortion coverage — a vote that could threaten a crucial Democrat’s support for passage of the final bill.

Democratic Senator Ben Nelson’s amendment to tighten the bill’s restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortions, identical to a provision approved by the House of Representatives last month, was killed on a 54-45 vote.

Without the abortion language, Nelson had threatened he would not back the final healthcare bill when it came to a vote. If he followed through, Democrats would be one vote short of the 60 they need to pass the measure.

But after his amendment failed, Nelson softened his stance slightly. “It makes it harder to be supportive. We’ll see what happens,” he told reporters.

This also doesn’t bring up Lieberman. But since it is killing the words “Public Option, then maybe this is solved. We’ll have to see if this makes a final vote… I’m starting to get lots of petition e-mails and other things trying to get the public option back and it’s getting argued all over (boy, I’d love to get on Medicare NOW.)

The NY Times says Liberals are banding together to keep the Public Option…

… and I just heard Tom Harkin on Television say that they plan to have the Bill done by Christmas.
clipped from prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com

Liberals Urge Reid to Keep Public Option

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, met on Monday night with a group of liberal Senate Democrats who urged him not to back down from his decision to put a government-run insurance plan, or public option, in the major health care legislation that he is working to complete.

Mr. Reid has said that he would include a public plan in the bill with a provision for states to opt out if they do not want to offer it. But Mr. Reid is still short at least 3 of the 60 votes he needs on a motion to bring the health care bill up for debate.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who requested the meeting on Monday night with Mr. Reid, said that liberal lawmakers had concluded that they had compromised enough on the public plan and wanted Mr. Reid to understand how they felt as he struggled to lock down the votes needed to move forward with the bill.

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You can express your support to Harry Reid to keep the Public Option in…

For months, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been under intense pressure to drop the public health insurance option.

But Reid defied insurance lobbyists, political pundits, and conservatives of both parties and announced that he’s including a public option in the Senate floor bill.

I just added my name to a newspaper ad thanking Senator Reid, to show that thousands of Americans have got his back and are fired up to fight alongside him. Will you join me?

http://pol.moveon.org/thankreid/?r_by=17734-5593088-EysZgOx&rc=paste

– Bill T.

This was on Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire this afternoon…

clipped from politicalwire.com

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “will announce this afternoon that he plans to push ahead with a public option vote — one that includes an opt-out provision for states — even though he’s currently short several votes for passage, according to people close to the situation,” Politico reports.

Reid has 3:15 p.m. press conference to discuss details.

“Leadership sources tell me that Reid, who spoke with virtually every
member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56
and 57 votes for the opt-out, which is being pushed by Sen. Charles
Schumer, according to Democratic aides.”

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So does this mean he’s trying to support it on the outside, but letting a vote kill it on the inside? Wait and see.

Bernie Sanders on Health Care Reform for the Self Employed

As is my wont, I am adding Bernie’s weekly video to this site.

Heather Graham Stars as THE PUBLIC OPTION

If you want to contribute to make sure this ad plays on your Congressperson’s television, go HERE

You can also support MoveOn. Com that is sponsoring this activity..