Eyes Turn To Lieberman, Reid, Snowe As Most Crucial Health Reform Players
Bloomberg reports that Sen. Joe Lieberman's "independence (is hindering) Democrats' health-care end game."
"While Lieberman still aligns himself with the Democratic caucus, his threat to block health legislation 'as a matter of conscience' shows a growing willingness and confidence to stand on his own, analysts say. ... Lieberman can influence the outcome because no Republicans have offered to support the overhaul measure from Reid, a Nevada Democrat. Lacking Republican allies, Democrats need all 60 members of their caucus, which includes Lieberman and Independent Bernard Sanders of Vermont, to bring the measure up for a final vote."
On the government-run public option plan, he told Bloomberg: "'I have no other choice,' Lieberman said in an interview with Bloomberg News. 'I have to use the right I have as a senator to stop something I think will be terrible. I really want to vote for health-care reform.'" Some say Lieberman's stance "reflects his ties to home-state insurers, say critics who protested outside his Washington office Nov. 10" (Gaouette and Salant, 11/16).
Roll Call profiles Majority Leader Harry Reid ("The Ultimate Closer") who has "emerged as the central player in President Barack Obama's push to enact health care reform this year" and has 16 blurbs on the major players in health care reform (Drucker, 11/16). See the full list of profiles here.
In a separate story, Roll Call profiles Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, whose "support will be crucial in crafting a more moderate compromise bill that ultimately is expected to emerge in the coming weeks." She is keeping both sides guessing at what her final decision on reform will be (Murray, 11/16).
In Virginia, Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb are making their voices, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. "Virginia's two senators are expressing concerns about costs - in the expense of individuals' premiums and the rising federal deficit. While both are open to the idea of a public option, it's not their priority" (Meola, 11/15).