Today I sent a message to the DFA Community about where we stand in our fight for the choice of a public health insurance option. In it, I said this:
We've proved that a bill without a public option can't pass the House of Representatives, but we are five commitments short of proving that a bill with a public option can pass the Senate. Once we have 50 Senators who clearly state they will vote for a public option, then we have the votes to win and Congress will see that inclusion of a public option is the only way to pass healthcare reform this year.
That's right, we have 45 senators on the record. We need at least 5 more senators to make a public option bill unstoppable.
While Republicans and some Democrats try to sell us that we need 60 votes in the senate, the fact is that it's just not true. I'll let Chris Bowers explain why after the jump.
From Chris Bowers at OpenLeft last week:
The fact is that Democrats only need 50 votes, plus the Vice-President, to sustain a ruling from the Senate chair that health care reform legislation with a public option can be passed with only 51 votes. This is the case even if the Senate Parliamentarian disagrees.
The only objection to this is political, not substantive. It can be argued that pushing health care reform with a public option through reconciliation is a bad idea politically. However, it cannot be accurately argued that it is impossible to do so. After all, if 50 Senate Democrats plus Vice-President Biden wanted to do so, they could actually eliminate the filibuster altogether, much less get around it only for health care reform legislation.
So, like I said, that leaves us with a goal to get at least 5 more senators on the record. Who's left to get on the record?
Well we have a "maybe" from 15 Senators. Here's who they are:
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Max Buacus (D-MT)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Ben Nelson (D-NE)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Now we're amping up the fight to get at least five of these senators on record in support. Democracy for America will put extra staff and resources on the ground in up to 10 of these states from September to December. There are two ways you can help us right now.
- Contribute to our aggressive field campaign to get these senators on record here: https://www.democracyforamerica.com/...
- Tell us in the comments of this post what senators you think are the most likely to budge? Which states should we target for extra staff and resources from September to December to make sure we win?
We're not leaving victory up to chance. After Labor Day, Congress returns from the August break and the sprint to victory begins. With your help, we'll have the resources to hit the ground running.