Senate Democrats caucused this evening and discussed the details of the health care bill still sitting in the Senate. The Democrats are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to score the bill, so most Senators in the Democratic caucus remain silent until the CBO gives some answers.
Senator Arlen Specter(D-PA), a newcomer to the Democratic caucus, was said to have been given a round of applause when he said, according to a Democratic aide, “Don’t let these obstructionists win. I came to this caucus to be your 60th vote.”
Senator Lieberman (I-CT), a critic of the health care bill’s public option has been in the spotlight for threatening not to vote for the bill. Liberal bloggers like Jane Hamsher of Fire Dog Lake, incensed that the Connecticut Senator is thought to be holding up health care legislation, called on the Susan G. Komen foundation, an organization that raises money to help find a cure for breast cancer, to oust Mr. Lieberman’s wife Hadassah as a Komen spokeswoman. Senator Lieberman called the campaign to push his wife out of Komen “over the line and offensive.”:
“My wife is a private citizen in a movement that is looking for a cure for breast cancer and educating women about what they should do to protect themselves from breast cancer. This is an age in which people stop debating you on the merits and go after you or your family for personal reasons. Its just deeply offensive to me. I can take anything people want to throw at me, and I can take it with equanimity and trade it and give it back and deal with the merits, but I’m deeply offended by anyone who would draw my wife into it, particularly when they’re not telling the truth.”
Senator Lieberman insists he is not the only one who is critical with parts of the bill, and that there are others in the caucus. He told reporters, “I don’t want to say too much, but trust me…it’s not just me. I don’t feel like a spoiler.”:
“I feel like somebody who wanted to be for health care reform. Think about it… thirty million people who can’t afford health insurance in our country are going to get it under this bill. The cost curve is going to be bent down.
Somebody said to me last week,a fellow democrat, ‘why don’t you vote for cloture and against the bill.’ and I said I want to be for the bill. I want to be for health care reform, and I think we are in reach of a very significant accomplishment, that is not an ideological accomplishment. It’ll change the lives of millions of people in our country for the better.”
Senator Baucus emphasized his excitement for the health care bill saying, “This will be the biggest legislative effort I ‘ve been involved in.” The Medicare buy-in proposal’s inclusion in the final bill seems to be on shaky ground, and when Mr. Baucus was asked about whether or not the “public option” had been dropped, he would only say: “What you read is not too far from the truth.”