Reid Works To Convince Moderate Dems To Vote For Senate Health Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is in the "awkward position of looking for votes on a major health care reform bill that doesn't quite exist," Roll Call reports. "Although Reid last week announced that the legislation would include a specific type of public insurance option, most other aspects of the plan remain under wraps until the Congressional Budget Office completes its analysis and delivers cost estimates. In the meantime, Reid is trying to cobble together 60 votes. ... One Democratic Senate aide familiar with the health care negotiations said Reid has been largely focused on the mostly moderate Democrats who won't yet commit to supporting a motion to proceed to begin the floor debate" (Drucker and Newmyer, 11/3).
The Hill reports Reid "pledged an open debate on the healthcare reform bill and blasted Republicans for not presenting an alternative plan. In a letter to all 40 Senate Republicans, Reid noted that the two Democratic-written healthcare bills so far passed by Senate committees have been available online for weeks, and that 'the Republican leadership's health care plan remains a secret, unless perhaps it does not exist'" (Rushing, 11/2).
In a separate article, Roll Call reports that "Sen. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., is coming under fire from liberals upset with his promise to filibuster any Senate health care reform bill that includes a public health insurance option, but it's unclear how much support they have for punishing the Independent Democrat. In an e-mail Monday, activists for Democrats.com called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) to strip Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee" (Pierce, 11/2).
But The Hill, in a second article, reports that Lieberman "has reached a private understanding" with Reid that "he will not block a final vote on healthcare reform, according to two sources briefed on the matter [S]ources said Reid's staff is telling liberal interest groups that Lieberman (Conn.) has assured Reid he will vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill" (Bolton, 11/2).
Meanwhile, Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., who "has gained some publicity on Capitol Hill for saying he won't vote for a health care reform bill that doesn't contain the so-called public option," was "less specific" on Monday "when asked by reporters if he would vote for a proposal allowing states to opt out of the public option if enough competition exists among private health insurers," The Chicago Tribune reports. "Burris said he does not favor a bill that allows states to opt out of the public option, but he hedged when asked if he would vote for it" (Dardick, 11/3).