Progressive House Members lay down the marker: The final bill “MUST contain a public option”

Game on. The pundits and politicos in DC (including Politico.com) have decided the die is cast against the public option. (Wink, wink, they knew it all along.) One “House leadership official” actually told Politico there would be an initial vote on the public option, but intimated it won’t be there when the bill comes back from the conference committee (after the Senate and House pass their respective bills, a conference committee comprised of members from both bodies will come up with one final product.) And, the expectation is that the progressives will just go along with no public option (because progressive always just go along.)

Not so fast.

Jane Hamsher reports that 60 House progressives have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius laying down their marker: No public option, no bill. Here’s the last two important paragraphs from the letter:

To take the public option off the table would be a grave error; passage in the House of Representatives depends upon inclusion of it.

We have attached, for your review, a letter from 60 Members of Congress who are firm in their Position that any legislation that moves forward through both chambers, and into a final proposal for the President’s signature, MUST contain a public option.

Got that? Everyone thought the progressives could be taken for granted. They can’t be.

And, Jane adds:

It’s pretty clear that they’re not down with the kabuki play, and are serious about conference. Well played, progressives.

Only an arrogant nitwit would believe they could negotiate a deal that gave health care away to the pharmaceutical industry, the doctors, the hospitals and the insurance companies, tie everyone’s hands and keep the government from being able to negotiate costs for the next decade and then jam it on progressives to sell in their districts at the end the end of the process.

D.C. is filled with arrogant nitwits. A lot of them work on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. And, some of them (Baucus, Conrad, Messina, Emanuel) actually thought progressives didn’t matter in this debate.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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