Will Democrats stand up and filibuster their own Party’s proposal?
Will they stand up and filibuster a Public Option that their President wants?
Will they stand up and filibuster a Public Option that 65% of The People want?
Yesterday Kent Conrad, Blanche Lincoln, and Max Baucus, voted against even the weaker Schumer Public Option. Though not on the Finance committee, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson and our old fiend Joe Lieberman are also quite suspect when it comes down to siding with a Public Option over the Corporate Option.
Here is where we stand. Once the Baucus Finance Bill clears committee, it has to be merged with the HELP Committee Bill in Senate Conference.
Chris Bowers lays it out for us:
…. a source on the Hill confirms to me the Senate HELP and Senate Finance committees will be merged by an informal, behind the scenes process involving the four major players in the Senate: Tom Harkin (Chair of HELP), Max Baucus (Chair of Finance), Harry Reid (Majority Leader), and the White House. Together, these four will meet and decide what sort of bill to send to the Senate floor for debate and amendments.
During this process, we can guarantee that Harkin will push for a HELP or Schumer-like public option to be sent the floor, while Baucus will push for no public option to be in the bill at all. Given his recent statements, the best bet is that Reid will probably push against a public option too, and instead favor either triggers (which he has called a good idea) or co-ops (which seems to be the sort of public option he likes best). With two against and one in favor, this means that the only way a public option ends up in the bill that is sent to the Senate floor will be if the fourth major player, the White House, demands it.
It is all up to the White House now. If it pushes for a public option to be included in the health care bill sent to the Senate floor, then a public option will pass as part of health care reform (at that point, all we would need are 60 votes for cloture, and from what I hear we have 57 already).
It’s all up to the White House now.
IF Obama truly wants a Public Option (and for what it is worth, I think he does) he will have to force Reid to include it in the merged Senate Bill. That Bill then goes to the floor.
To “continue debate” (have a chance to pass) 60 Senators must vote for cloture.
This is where the rubber hits the road. Voting for cloture is NOT voting for the Bill. The ObstructoDems CAN vote for cloture and then vote against the Bill.
That is called Party Loyalty. You show your loyalty to the Party by not obstructing the will of the majority of the Party, even if you disagree with the specific issue at hand.
And if they are loyal to their Party they will vote for cloture. If they are loyal to their President’s agenda (assuming he forces Reid to include the PO and thus proves once and for all that he DOES support it) they will vote for cloture. If they are loyal to both their own constituents and to The People of America they will vote for cloture.
Any one of them who does not vote for cloture is joining the Republicans in a filibuster.
Any one of them that does not vote for cloture brings us one step closer to not passing health Care Reform. Any one of them that does not vote for cloture brings us one step closer to losing seats in 2010, just as we lost seats in 1994 after not passing HCR. Any one of them that does not vote for cloture tangibly HURTS the Democrats…hurts the President and helps make this ‘his Waterloo,’ and most definitely hurts The people by denying them reform of a system that kills 45,000 of The People every year.
There is no more subtlety here, no more hedging or dodging. No more excuses. Either they vote with the Democrats, or vote with the Republicans.
If no “Democrat” joins the Republicans in filibustering their own Party and their own President’s Bill, it will pass cloture and then….we only need 51 votes for a Senate Bill that includes a Public Option.
And avoid the vagaries of Reconciliation. That way even if Baucus < rolls eyes > makes SURE we don’t have 60 votes….by not being the 60th vote on the final Bill…all we need is 51.
We can get 51.
IF no “Democrat” betrays their Party, their President, and The People by joining the Republicans.
To make sure they know the ramifications of NOT making certain there is a Public Option included in the final Senate Bill.
And it is time to ask Baucus, Conrad, Ben Nelson, Lincoln, Landrieu, and Lieberman where they stand.
Do they stand with The People, The President and The Party?
Or do they stand with The Republicans?