Huffington Post reports today that three more Senate Democrats have expressed public support to voting for a Public Option if it were to come up in a vote in the Senate.
Ryan Grim's piece here lists Daniel Akaka, Jon Tester, and the retiring Byron Dorgan as people who "could support" a Public Option in the Senate via Reconcilation:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) told HuffPost that if the public insurance option comes up for a vote under reconciliation, he will vote for it it. "I would support it, yes," he said.
Solid Yes from Akaka...
"Wow," Tester said when first asked about the prospect of a floor vote for the public option. He thought for a moment and said: "It depends on how it was designed. I've always said to folks, if a public option is designed right, I'd support it."
A qualified "Yes" from Senator Tester, but it's still public support.
Dorgan sounded a similar tune. "I have responded, I guess, 20 times that I support the public option. So, you're asking hypotheticals about how it would come up. If somebody did a public option and said we're going to do Medicare rates, I probably wouldn't support that," he told HuffPost.
But if it used negotiated rates, as the House version does? "Generally, I probably would support that. I mean, I support the public option," he said.
Another qualified "yes", this time from Dorgan who brings up the Medicare rates in the same way that Kent Conrad did when he kept pimping out his co-op non plan.
HuffPo says that is 38 public supporters, and also lists Landrieu, Lincoln and Pryor as "No" votes.
Only 12 more Senators to go till the magic bullet of 50, right? It's only been a few weeks and we have gone from a small handful to within reach of proving that the votes are there in the Senate for a Public Option.
So what does Tom Carper think about this?
"We don't have the votes to pass the public option in the Senate. We tried very hard to find a way to accomplish something together that would pass muster in the Senate [and] couldn't do that. For those who somehow suggest it's going to happen to now, they're deluding people," he said.
Gee, thanks Senator. Everyone wants a public option is now deluded because it won't happen. Funny how that whole wanting lots of reform for lots of people with lots of choice thing goes, eh?
Also, Carper's point is very disingenuous because he is talking about a time, in a galaxy far, far away, in which Senate Democrats had a 60-vote "supermajority". Carper is correct in saying that there wasn't any such option that was going to get 60 votes in the Senate, so I don't fault him for pointing that out...but Senator Carper ought to be more forthright and not obfuscate the point that the game changed in the Senate the minute the Massapocalypse happened and Scotty Brown started voguing all over Ted Kennedy's old seat.
Now, reconciliation is an absolute must to pass this bill, and everyone knows it. That means you can split, 50-50, and the Vice President, Mr. Joe Biden himself, casts the deciding vote...and should that come to pass, it will not for one nanosecond be with the "Nay" side, you can bet money on that.
But what is even more ludicrous than that answer is the end of the exchange:
So would he vote for it?
"Probably not. I think we delude the supporters of the public option to think that it still has legs," he said.
Assuming the question was asked thusly; "Senator, if the Public Option came up to a vote in the Senate, would you vote for it?" and that was his answer, that was one of the shittiest answers to a question I've ever heard.
If the vote comes up in the Senate, you have your chance to actually end the debate on it for this bill. Either it passes, or it fails. And really, an up-or-down vote in the Senate on this provision at this point is what we all need. Even if it fails, we will know who to target in the next election cycle. If it passes...well, we win, right? No it ain't single payer, but fuck I will take a public option tomorrow if they let me sign up for it.
Tom Carper is being a bastard on this, and if he wanted to be coy and demur, that would be one thing. But it is fucked up for him to say stuff like this, when it's clear that things are coming to a head.
A handful more Senators are needed to publicly commit. Then we will either get our vote, and the chips will fall where they may...or we will have the rug pulled out from under us one more time by Harry Reid or Obama or whoever the hell does it...and we will have only one choice left.
Get. Fucking. Angry.
I suggest getting angry at Tom Carper first and foremost:
United States Senate
513 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2441
Fax: (202) 228-2190
301 North Walnut Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: (302) 573-6291
Fax: (302) 573-6434
I won't stop fighting till the votes are cast, and if you believe in this I think you should too. Tell Carper to either support it or shut the hell up. He needs to put his money where his mouth is, and making comments like this are not helpful. Not in the slightest.