This is what Democrats in Congress get for allowing Lieberman to keep his prestigi0us committee chair assignment.
Brian Beutler explains the procedural implications:
There are two procedural issues at play here. Most people think of a filibuster as a minority blocking passage of a bill that’s already been debated ad nauseum on the Senate floor. That’s the most standard filibuster. But on major legislation, it’s become more common for the minority–in this case the Republicans–to object to the majority getting a chance to debate legislation in the first place. If any one of them objects to the so-called motion to proceed, it will take 60 votes just to start the amendment and debate process. That’s a less-discussed filibuster, but it’s quite plausible that this health care bill will have to contend with it.
Lieberman is saying that he’s pretty much OK with letting senators offer amendments–try to change the legislation, move it in any direction they deem necessary. But when that process is all over, and Harry Reid wants to hold an up or down vote on the final product, Lieberman’s saying he’ll join that filibuster, if he’s not happy with the finished product. Point blank.
Lieberman is very much going against public opinion on the public option. Depending on how the question is phrased, either a plurality or a large majority of Americans want one:
As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moves forward crafting a Senate health-care bill that contains a public option — with a state “opt out” — the latest NBC/WSJ poll shows support for a government-run insurance plan at its highest level since the debate began.
According to the poll, 48% say they favor a public health plan administered by the federal government that would compete with private insurers, compared with 42% who oppose it. That’s a shift from last month, though within the margin of error, when 48% opposed the public option and 46% supported it. And it’s a 10-point swing from August, when 47% were in opposition and 43% were in favor.
In another question asked a different way — is it important to give people a choice of a public option? — a combined 72% answered that it was either “extremely important” or “quite important,” while just 23% said it was “not that important” or “not at all important.” Those numbers are virtually unchanged from last month.
The traditional media is doing a bang-up job of swallowing Lieberman’s lies and/or ignorance about why he is standing in the way of American’s choices — with one notable exception.
Marcy Wheeler examines Lieberman’s stated reasons for opposing the public option, and how the press is responding:
So here’s what Joe Lieberman claims the public option will do:
- Be costly to taxpayers
- Drive up premiums
- Involve cost-shifting to private plans
- Create an entitlement
- Increase the national debt
- Put more of a tax burden on taxpayers
As DDay points out, this is utter nonsense.
Here’s First Read, abdicating its role as journalist by letting Lieberman’s explanation go unchallenged.
Update: Kudos to CBS’ Stephanie Condon for doing real reporting.
Lieberman has said he opposes a public option because of the potential burden it could place on taxpayers. However, Democrats have crafted a public option that would be financed by premiums rather than federal funds.
Update: Ooohboy. The Hill goes above and beyond in credulously reporting Lieberman’s BS. They even let him claim that he’s not doing this because of CT’s insurance companies.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of a handful of Senate wild cards in this fall’s healthcare reform debate, says his concern about the Senate bill is based on the national deficit — not the insurers that dominate his state.
“Insurers aren’t my biggest concern — I sued them once when I was attorney general, and I’m not afraid to end anti-trust exemptions,” Lieberman said. “I am really worried about what this could do to the deficit.”
Update: Beutler does a follow-up calling Lieberman on his BS.
Will the corporate media acknowledge the role bloggers played in getting a strong public option? Don’t hold your breath:
Although it’s far from clear what the final health care bill will look like, especially the public option (opt-out, trigger, etc.), there’s absolutely no doubt that it is alive primarily because of the vigorous efforts of online progressive activists and bloggers on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Daily Kos, TPM, Think Progress, Media Matters, Salon, AmericaBlog, Crooks and Liars, and hundreds of smaller sites (not to mention MoveOn).
But don’t hold your breath waiting to read about the netroots’ pivotal role in forcing the inclusion of a public option — it’s just not the way things work in our current media and political world. Instead, at most expect to hear vague allusions to the ‘left’. Or even more likely, the credit will go to liberal-leaning legislators and will reference “public support,” neglecting the fact that it took bloggers to draw attention to the polling that showed a majority favored the public option.