I don’t know about you, but this comes as an absolute fucking shock to me: Harry Reid’s apparently located his spine somewhere deep in the detritus of his garage, and he’s gingerly trying it on:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has “ordered Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to drop a proposal to tax health benefits and stop chasing Republican votes on a massive health care reform bill.” Roll Call reports:
According to Democratic sources, Reid told Baucus that taxing health benefits and failing to include a strong government-run insurance option of some sort in his bill would cost 10 to 15 Democratic votes; Reid told Baucus it wasn’t worth securing the support of Grassley and at best a few additional Republicans. …
Good on yer, Harry. Keep that spine on – it becomes you.
Update: And the progressives in the House weigh in:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Aye, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I read with alarm and dismay the article in the July 7th edition of the Wall Street Journal, “WhiteHouse Open to Deal on Public Health Plan”. In particular, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel stated in the article that one of several ways to meet your health care reform goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own.
I want to be crystal clear that any such trigger for a strong public plan option is a non-starter with a majority of the Members of the Progressive Caucus (CPC). As the CPC has repeatedly stated, its Members cannot support final passage of any health care reform bill that does not include a robust public plan option, akin to Medicare, operating alongside the private plans.
Public opinion polls show that 76° o of Americans want a robust public plan option and I will stand in solidarity with them. Moreover, I consider it unacceptable for any of the cost savings that you are negotiating with hospitals and other sectors of the health care industry to be madecontingent upon a robust public plan option not being included in the final legislation.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
After initially indicating his support for a public plan “trigger,” White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel reassured House Democrats tonight that he strongly backs a public plan. Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) said she told Emanuel that support for a “trigger” would cause health reform to lose Democratic votes:
“We have compromised enough, and we are not going to compromise on any kind of trigger game,” Woolsey said she told Emanuel. “People clapped all over the place. We mean it, and not just progressives.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said Emanuel reassured him that he “doesn’t stand by that trigger.”
Nice shooting, Rep. Grijalva and fellow progressives. Nice work, AZ’s 7th. Keep that fellow around, would you?