Here is what he told a dazed-sounding Neil Cavuto at Fox (emphasis in original):
Moments ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that he is prepared to vote against the Senate health care bill in light of the recent decision to strip the public option and the Medicare buy-in provision from the legislation. Appearing on Fox Business’ Cavuto, Sanders said he’s “struggling with this,” but is inclined to vote against:
I’m struggling with this. As of this point, I’m not voting for the bill. … I’m going to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I’ve indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point. And here is the reason. When the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman’s action, what I worry about is how do you control escalating health care costs?
In addition, executives from Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) and from the AFL-CIO are holding emergency meetings to decide whether they can still support the current bill now that it’s been stripped of both the public option and the Medicare expansion buy-in proposal.
While the White House attacks Howard Dean rather than Joe Lieberman, Senate and House Democrats are placing the blame on the White House:
“The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). “No public option, no extending Medicare to 55, no nothing, an excise tax, God!” he exclaimed about the Senate health care bill to Roll Call. “The insurance lobby is taking over.”Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), told Politico of Senate delays, “It’s ridiculous, and the Obama administration is sitting on the sidelines. That’s nonsense.”*
While many House Democrats have expressed anger with the Senate for the watered-down bill, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) argued that it was really Obama who let centrists take control. “Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these people in charge?” he said. “It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate.”