Here's a special news report for us here on Dailykos. Apparently the spine flu epidemic, which is a new strain of the swine flu, is hitting some Democrats in Washington, D.C. very hard. Watch this breaking news special below for the latest on the spine flu epidemic, the search for a cure, and what we viewers can do at home!
We know that Harry Reid has the ability to put in a trigger-free public option in the merged bills, and that he can indeed ask Democrats to vote yes on cloture. However, it seems that he wasn't even aware about actually asking Senators to vote on cloture until Arlen Specter brought it up. Yes, that Arlen Specter, a former Republican, who actually had the temerity to mention to Senator Reid that he does in fact have the ability to lead! Here's more on this shocking story from our Nyceve who interviewed Senator Arlen Specter:
In a conference call with political bloggers, Senator Arlen Specter (Still-Fresh D-PA) reported that in a recent gathering of the Senate Democratic caucus, he suggested his colleagues pledge to stick with the party on a cloture vote when the merged health care reform bill came to the floor. Much to Specter’s surprise, according to him, his idea was not embraced by his fellow Dems. And, perhaps even more surprising, Majority Leader Harry Reid approached Specter after the meeting (again, according to Specter), and thanked him for stressing a point that Reid, himself, admitted he was “reluctant to make.”
Specter’s revealing tidbit was part of a rather interesting conference call I participated in yesterday. We covered a lot of ground, mostly healthcare, but also some pretty wonky questions on Afghanistan. The cloture story was in the form of a rather a casual remark toward the end of the call, and came almost as an afterthought.
Specter recounted that during a recent Caucus meeting, he spoke up and suggested “all 60 go on the record committing to vote for cloture.” This, um, very appropriate idea went nowhere.
After the meeting, Specter continued, Reid went up to him and said, “thanks for saying that, I was reluctant to make that point myself.”
It's the worst case of the spine flu that I've ever seen from Democrats like Senator Harry Reid. So Senator Reid has to decide whether we live in the United States of America, where the public option has a strong majority support, or whether we live in the United States of Maine. It's time for him to stop the silent filibuster on the public option.
And please don't stop with the phone calls to our Progressives in Congress today! We're going to be hearing a lot of drum-beating about the Snowe trigger in the days ahead, so please don't let up on those phone calls to our progressives with these talking points below!
Hi [Representative's Name]. I want to thank you for supporting the public option, but I don't want you to support a trigger or the state opt-in proposal for the public option! A trigger on the public option would be a surrender to the private insurance companies. Please don't let the insurance lobbyists win by allowing a trigger on the public option, or by allowing states to opt-in to the public option. I want a national public option that's available in all states immediately without an opt-out, an opt-in, or a trigger. I also don't support co-operatives as an alternative to the public option since the CBO have said they will do nothing to lower costs of private insurance premiums. If the bill doesn't have a public option to control premium costs, please vote against that bill!
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UPDATE: Please tip transparent below for the "swine flu" quip :-)