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Lieberman Throws Senate Democrats For A Loop

You know, sometimes I think Joe Lieberman does this sort of stuff just to remind his Democratic Senate colleagues about the fact that they deserted him during his last run for office in favor of Ned Lamont.

In a surprise setback for Democratic leaders, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said on Sunday that he would vote against the health care legislation in its current form.

Of course it would be nice to know what that “current form” is, but Harry Reid and the Democrats are keeping that a secret. However, details have leaked out, and, additionally, Lieberman pretty well laid out his objections:

“You’ve got to take out the Medicare buy-in,” Mr. Lieberman said. “You’ve got to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the Class Act, which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit.”

Class Act refers to a federal insurance program for long-term care, known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act.

Mr. Lieberman said he would have “a hard time” voting for a bill with the Medicare buy-in.

Of course, the removal of those three items guts the Reid compromise and it also would move the Senate version of reform further and further away from the House bill, making the ability to reconcile the two, assuming the Senate passes something, much harder.

Lieberman isn’t the only Democrat not happy with the plan. Sen Ben Nelson, an abortion foe, has reservations about the abortion provisions and is not at all a fan of the Medicare buy-in either:

Mr. Nelson said he wanted to know the cost of the Medicare buy-in. “I am concerned that it’s the forerunner of single payer, the ultimate single-payer plan, maybe even more directly than the public option,” he said.

Of course he’s absolutely correct – such a buy-in would indeed be the forerunner of a single payer system. And a single-payer system is the worst thing that could happen to this country when it comes to health care. It certainly won’t “improve it” or drive down cost (as Medicare’s unfunded trillions in future liabilities shows).

This leaves Reid with few choices, thankfully. Of course Lieberman offers his own bit of advice:

“We’ve got to stop adding to the bill. We’ve got to start subtracting some controversial things. I think the only way to get this done before Christmas is to bring in some Republicans who are open-minded on this, like Olympia Snowe.”

Senator Snowe, of Maine, has tried to find common ground with Democrats, but has rejected Mr. Reid’s proposal to let uninsured people 55 to 64 years old purchase coverage under Medicare.

Assuming Senate Democrats could put something together that would satisfy Snowe (whatever that would take would most likely also satisfy Lieberman), she would be the 60th vote (unless they were also able to satisfy Nelson, in which case she’d be 61) and make it “bi-partisan”.

Funny how Snowe is touted as “open-minded” by Lieberman when it comes to supporting and enabling a huge government takeover of a large chunk of the private sector economy. That’s a reminder to those on the right to look at Lieberman as some sort of hero that at heart he really is a liberal with a love for big government.  He just wants to use this opportunity to get his version of “big government” in place, not someone else’s.

That said, I really hope he can stall this (or, hope of hopes, kill it completely) until well into the new year. The closer it gets to the 2010 election with some polls showing upwards of 60% of Americans against this legislation, the less likely we are to see it passed.

~McQ

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20 Responses to Lieberman Throws Senate Democrats For A Loop

  • IMO it is going to be way too close for comfort, but it will ultimately die.
    The changes that would get Lieberman or Snowe on board will likely cause several of the further left Dems to throw a hissy fit.
    Plus removing any form of a Public Option will make the bill incompatible with the House version.
    I put the current chances of any health bill ever getting to his Majesty’s desk at little worse than 50/50 and the chances of it getting there before the end of the year at just a hair’s breadth above 0%.

  • I think Charles Krauthammer had it right over the summer when he said “something” would be passed and that it would be called “health care reform”. That’s the most conservative prediction I have heard so far.
     
    To be fair to him, on Friday he was leaning toward no bill at all.

  • I said last week ..

    This now looks like “24″ with bad writers.
    My guess is that Democrats are drawing straws to see who will vote to let cloture fail, all of them hoping it will be Lieberman.

    By the looks of memorandum today, I sure got the Lieberman part right.
     

  • 81% Of Dems Want Lieberman Punished For Health Care Filibuster
    They eat their own
    Seriously, exactly what is that going to accomplish ?

    • Well they’re not the only ones who “eat their own” – Snowe, Specter and Collins? Stimulus?

      • The White House is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to cut a deal with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), which would mean eliminating the proposed Medicare expansion in the health reform bill, according to an official close to the negotiations.

        Can you spell desperate ?

        • White House now denying “dealing with Liebrman”, instead they call Dems to White House (so “The Won” can bore them into submission).

      • I hate to disagree, Bruce, but while the vast majority of Republicans dislike Snowe and Collins, there has never been a move to take away with committeeships – at least not one that I know of. But I digress to you if you know of one.
         
        The Demmies and their liberal (puke) supporters are having a hissy fit over Lieberman, threatening to “Amish him” (shun him), or to worse – what that means, I have no idea:
         
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/14/81-of-dems-want-lieberman_n_390797.html
         
        Now, I wonder: for months we heard that the GOP was “intolerant” of other views, that we “forced” Arlen Spector out, because we are darned intolerant. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and the Demmies are threatening Lieberman, will there be the same stories about the Demmies and their “intolerance”? How about some stories about all of the Blue Dogs retiring at a quickening rate? (Bart Gordon, holder of Algore’s seat in the House, announced yesterday that he will not run for another term – and he makes four major Demmies leaving the field open.)
         
        Remember 1994, folks…1994, when Demmies were so blind – morally and politically – that they did not see the tidal wave of the tsunami coming to drive them from power. They are still in denial now, and so are their dimwit bootlickers in the media, who keep pushing the meme that somehow, someway, the death care bill will definitely pass, that a majority of the public supports it, nah nah nah.
         
        And the topper is The Clown™ saying that he gives himself a grade of “a strong B” for his first year. The only “B” he should be thinking of is the one-word description of his Marxist regime: B-U-S-T.

        • Just to inform you folks, but here is more classiness from the deluded and denuded Left: If you can’t get Joe Lieberman, go after his wife, who is a “foreign ambassador” for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for Breast Cancer.
           
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/14/celebs-urged-to-help-dump_n_390952.html
           
          Democrats and liberals: you really wish they would just go away. Go away, and stay away, from the rest of America. They are making the world an unfit place to live and breathe.

        • Sorry James but there was all kinds of talk about exactly that – not necessarily from their leadership, but certainly within Republican ranks.

          • There’s always talk.  But the Democrats crack a far meaner whip.  Under Bush, the Republicans had the Presidency, House and Senate for 6 years.
             
            They never came close to the ideologically inspired changes that the Democrats have wrought in terms of massive spending and a few votes away from seizing 1/6 of the economy in just 11 months.
             
            The Republicans had the Gang of 14 and one of them became their nominee.

      • Specter had been dancing on the line for years,  James Jeffords beat him out in 2001 by jumping before Specter had closed the deal

  • “To be fair to him, on Friday he was leaning toward no bill at all.”

    Uh, someone somewhere has to give me the five-up for predicting MONTHS AGO that this thing would die.

    I will take my bow now, albeit a bit prematurely. I would like to thank my mind, my audience, and my time machine, which allowed me to see December 2009/January 2010 months ago, and that this thing would D-I-E.

    <BOW>

    • I hope that you’re right.  One encouraging sign is the fact that after all of these months, they’re still trying to find some way to get something up for a vote.  Because of the likely fallout if it fails, I expect the Democrats to continue to drag the process out.  Losing would be a catastrophic loss of face, so they may as well string it out until the very last possible moment, particularly if it is going to fail.  They may also be hoping for some last-second miracle, some bit of PR or a news story that can serve to push it through.
       
      In any event, I figure that there are two things that happen as it continues to be drawn out.  One, the political cost of it grows larger and larger, to the extent that it may have to be paid even if health care reform dies completely.  Second, the bill will be further mangled in order to make it palatable enough for the requisite number of votes, in which case the final bill may be little more than a shell, while still costing enormous amounts of political clout.  The second would still be bad, though.  This monstrosity needs to die, and it needs to take acres of political capital down with it.

  • The reports are that Obama/Rahm have told Reid to pull Medicare and any public option from the bill in order to get Lieberman on board.  The Dem caucus is meeting right now, but Senator Harkin said that it has been pulled. 

    Then, Lieberman entered the room and wouldn’t take any questions.  Looks like they are going to get their before Christmas vote.

  • It ain’t dead until that crowd of wardheelers and thieves up in DC gets it through their collective head that Uncle Sugar has NO business in the health care field outside of providing it to GI’s and other, similar federal employees and their dependents.

    The dems have been after this for years.  They won’t give up.  If they lose this time, count on their pals in MiniTru to redouble the bombardment of sob stories about people who are suffering because they don’t have health insurance.  The polls will start to swing back, and the dems will put more legislation forward.  May not be next year, may not be in the next five, but THEY WON’T GIVE UP.

    What makes it worse is that the dems, with MiniTru’s willing assistance, have won the debate: even most Republicans in Congress agree that SOMETHING has to be done (can you say “compassionate conservative”?).  So, I expect that something will eventually be passed, and the dems will eventually turn it into ObamaCare.  An expansion of coverage here, a new, “limited” entitlement there, and eventually you’ve got single payer.  Even Imeme said in the past that it might take twenty years.  Natch, he wants it now so he can take the credit, but the dems ain’t gonna give up.  Indeed, he could have it now if he, Dingy Harry, and the horrid SanFran Nan weren’t so arrogant and hateful that they deliberately cut out the GOP and even the moderates in their own caucus.

  • Public option, Medicare buy-in, etc. are all a feint anyway.  Oh, they would have been ecstatic if they got them, since that would have accelerated the adoption of their single payer agenda, but they aren’t necessary.  What’s left in the bill after their removal will be quite enough to kill or capture the insurance industry.

    The subsidies in the exchanges for “government-approved” insurance will price private competitors out of the market. Private insurance companies will have to comply with every jot and tittle of the exchange requirements or see the Fed pay people hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy their competitors products.  Insurance companies that buck this will still be prohibited from selling insurance across state lines, still have to comply with all the state mandates because they lack the protection of selling an “exchange”  product, and will see the risk pools they can assemble slowly and inexorably shrink as Congress ratchets up the subsidies.

    All the rest of this is just for show.  Lieberman supports all of this.  The lefties claiming that they won’t vote for a bill without a public option will “sadly” vote for this because “it’s the best that we can get” with the murderous, old-people hatin’ Rethuglicans in Congress.  Finally, some of those poor, precious “impure” Republicans like Collins and Snowe will vote for it because their ideological home is with the Democrats or they just don’t understand what they are doing.

  • The height of cynicism would be to pass a “blank piece of paper” that they would have Obama fill in before signing.
    Even then, I predict, Obama would “screw the pooch.”