Hill Aides: More Senators Would Back Public Plan If Obama Pushed Harder

A clip from today’s Huffington Post:

There is a growing sense on Capitol Hill that the White House’s refusal to weigh in more forcefully in the health care debate could come at the cost of a public option for insurance coverage.

Democratic aides said that a “handful” of senators who are skeptical of a public plan likely could be persuaded if not to support it then at least to oppose a Republican filibuster, if the administration were to apply a bit more pressure — or even guidance.

“There is a clear sense that it would be helpful,” said one senior Democratic aide. “Throughout this entire debate the White House line has been ‘We will weigh in when it is necessary’…. Well now we need 60 votes. So if it’s not necessary now, then when will it be?”

“I think folks in general in Congress were looking to the president to clearly define his feeling on the issue,” another aide said. “And I don’t think he has done that on the public option from the get-go… With a lot of senators nervous because of elections or other political dynamics, it would be helpful for the president to send a strong signal that this is what he wants in the final bill”…

If you’ve never done so, now might be a really good time to send your President an email.

It doesn’t have to be anything complicated either. All you have to say is, “I expect for you fight for a public option.” Or, maybe you could try something like, “I had a great deal of faith in you, Mr. President. I won’t, however, be volunteering for, or contributing financially to your reelection campaign, unless you fight to give the American people what they overwhelmingly want – which is a public healthcare option.”

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  1. Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    And, yeah, I realize that a reporter can find an aide on the Hill to say almost anything… I know this is just the folks at the Huffington Post trying to goad Obama into showing some spine, but I’m all for that. He needs to be reminded repeatedly that a majority of Americans want a public option, and that we would support him if he only had the nerve to come out and really fight for change.

  2. Posted October 20, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I just sent Obama an email – it’s the 2nd time I’ve done so about healthcare. Thanks for the push and the reminder :)

  3. Sara
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Keep up those calls.

    Check out this headline – Congress “Getting Completely Crushed” With Over 100,000 Calls For Obama’s Healthcare Reform

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-teo/ofa-healthcare-phonebank_b_327418.html

  4. Kim
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    A little more good news… A House committee has voted to strip the health insurance industry of its exemption from federal antitrust laws as senators announced plans to take the same step.

  5. Kim
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    And, Heather Graham wants a public option.


  6. FFT
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ramped up the pressure on wavering Democrats Friday morning, calling on them to state in front of their colleagues where they stand on a “robust” public health insurance option.

    Robust has become a code word on the Hill that means a public option tied to Medicare rates; it is the preferred policy of progressives.

    At a closed door meeting of the Democratic caucus, Pelosi ordered the party roll to be called. Reporters outside the room could hear names being called out loudly.
    The question they faced, according to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.): If the health care bill has a robust public option, will you vote for it on the House floor?

    The framing of the question is key. The Speaker is not asking whether the member supports or opposes the public option, but rather whether he or she could support a final bill that included such an option. “They leadership clearly wants to do that if they have the votes,” Nadler told reporters.

    Some members left the meeting in an apparent attempt to avoid the roll call. Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kansas), a key swing vote, left before the roll was called and told HuffPost he has yet to be surveyed. Asked if he’d back the robust public option, he demurred. “I’m gonna wait and see,” he said.

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), exiting the meeting, told reporters that the survey would continue throughout the day.

    Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he counted eleven no votes and two undecideds. Roughly 60 members were not at the meeting, he said. During floor votes on Friday, Democratic leadership continued to survey its members.

    “I think if the rolls were reversed and we were an obstinate number of ten or nine on the progressive side, there would be tremendous pressure on us to move it along,” Grijalva said.

    Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/23/crunch-time-pelosi-puts-d_n_331470.html

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  1. By uberVU - social comments on October 23, 2009 at 11:37 pm

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