Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told reporters today that he would in fact filibuster any health care bill he doesn't agree with--and right now, he doesn't agree with the proposal making its way through the Senate.
"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined--i haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined--to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
Politico, via Reuters:
"We're trying to do too much at once," Lieberman said. "To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don't think we need it now."
Lieberman added that he'd vote against a public option plan "even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line."
More quotes as I'm finding them:
"The last thing that we want to do now is create another Washington-run health insurance company," Lieberman told reporters today in Washington.
"I can't see a way in which I can vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated and run insurance company," the Connecticut senator said. "It's just asking for trouble."
Wall Street Journal:
"I think that a lot of people may think that the public option is free. It's not," Mr. Lieberman said. "It's going to cost the taxpayers and people that have health insurance now, and if it doesn't, it's going to add terribly to our national debt."
Oh, you asshole.
Some of us knew it was coming (I didn't).
Pay him off. Do what you have to do. Or he better be out of the fucking caucus and chairmanships.
Reid's comments regarding Lieberman's statements, again via TPM.
White House (Gibbs) reaction here (TPM again).
4:00 PM (Central) Update: I've been waiting for conservative Dems to break ranks in light of this announcement, and so far, nobody is willing to walk off the cliff with Lieberman. Bayh mentions that he wants a $40 billion fee for medical device makers taken off the bill, which I would be hard pressed to consider a deal breaker for Reid, and neither Nelson or Landrieu would commit either way. I personally thought we'd be down to 56 votes once Lieberman signaled his intention to be completely fucking irrelevant the rest of his fucking life, so, as shitty as this news is, maybe there's some hope we can work him into the fold. Not counting on it, but we can hope he was expecting to turn around to vindicate his leadership on the issue, and realized he was just a lonely old man out for a walk. Keep the pressure up on him!
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