Bernie Sanders to Introduce Public Option Amendment
My man Bernie Sanders, the "Socialist" from Vermont, has committed himself to doing what no other senator on the Hill will do. Sanders confirmed today that he will introduce a public option amendment during the health care bill reconciliation debate. Greg Sargent at the Plum Line blog, who spoke directly to the senator, explains why this could be so important:
... as far fetched as this seems, if this amendment is introduced, a vote on it would be very hard for the Senate Dem leadership to block. The only thing that could stop it from happening, according to Senate expert Robert Dove, is for the parliamentarian to rule that it’s not germane to the Senate bill somehow — something that seems unlikely.As many of us public option watchers know, Democratic leadership has tried to convince their progressive colleagues that they must give up on the public option in order to ensure passage of the health care bill. This is of course a flimsy argument as evidenced by the fact that more and more senators are coming out publicly for the public option (40 at the latest whip count Thursday morning). While Dick Durbin and others will undoubtedly ask Dems to fall into line and vote against a public option amendment, even senators who've never been "for" the public option may have a (fortunately) hard time voting against it seeing that a number of 2010 polls show that a majority of Americans support the public option. And as mid-term elections approach, those incumbents worried about electoral losses may be moved to vote for the measure. Nothing like fear of being sacked to get a politician really going.