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Lieberman on the Senate deal

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“My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today," says Joe Lieberman. “Regarding the ‘Medicare buy-in’ proposal that is being discussed, we must remain vigilant about protecting and extending the solvency of the program, which is now in a perilous financial condition."

The Congressional Budget Office has scored Medicare buy-in before -- and they found it brightens the program's financial prospects by bringing healthier people into the pool and reducing expected spending for these people when they turn 65.

As for Lieberman's continuing concern over the public option, there's a big part of me that believes the tacked-on trigger that calls a public option into being if the nonprofit plans don't emerge is actually there so Lieberman can take it out and justify his eventual vote.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 9, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

That's an optimistic reading. It seems clear to me Joe is going to vote no on the bill and cloture no matter what based on whatever flimsy rationale he can come up with. Reid is going to need to get Snowe's vote (and probably Collins' too if Nelson decides to become Lieberman, Jr.) in order to get this done.

Posted by: redwards95 | December 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Why do we care what Lieberman thinks? He has made it clear that he is not amenable to anything that would result in actual universal coverage so why all these endless articles about his position? He was never someone who could be counted upon in a fight and all he's done over the past year is confirm that.

IMHO, the Democratic caucus should relieve him of his Homeland Security committee chairmanship and the DNC should focus on finding another seat in 2010.

Posted by: Athena_news | December 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

You're not going to trick Joe Lieberman with your facts and logic and budget analyses. Joe Lieberman knows what he believes and will stick to his guns.

Posted by: _SP_ | December 9, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The trigger is there for Snowe. Lieberman is a lost cause. Too bad he doesn.t just get lost and stay that way.

Posted by: Mimikatz | December 9, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Read between the lines -- Lieberman is trying to pull a Billy Tauzin.

There's clearly a pot of gold awaiting him in the private sector once he retires/quits/decides its time to stop trading on his public office.

Posted by: JPRS | December 9, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

CT voters owe us all a big apology.

Posted by: eRobin1 | December 9, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Lincoln, and the other wholly-owned (by the industry) Senators are either the death of Dem. party or the excuse for splitting the party in two chunks. If the real Dems can't get to 60 votes alone, so be it. If they can't make a majority, so be it.

The purple Senators should think about how much influence they will have in the Republican caucus, even though their wingnut friends may be there to provide nose tissues for their sniffles at the loss of media access.

This circus is untolerable. Heads must roll.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | December 9, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

If Lieberman was in any way interested in doing what was politically popular in his state, he would have supported a public option from the beginning. He seems only concerned for personal power within the Senate, regardless of the policy outcome. He knows this is his last term, and justifying his actions to voters isn't even a consideration.

Posted by: genelewis1 | December 9, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Jim says: The purple Senators should think about how much influence they will have in the Republican caucus, even though their wingnut friends may be there to provide nose tissues for their sniffles at the loss of media access.

This circus is untolerable. Heads must roll.

I have been posting this sentiment on every thread on cloture votes and health care (or any other measure that the repiglicans want to filibuster.) If there are no consequences for voting against your own caucus on PROCEDURAL matters and senators are obstructing their own leadership, there is no incentive to vote with the leadership. Every senator becomes a potential bill killer.

The repiglicans don't tolerate this kind of dissent in their caucus. Watch them vote 39 to 1 against cloture (Snowe and Collins are special cases because they represent a heavily blue state.) If they vote against health care reform I expect to see a credible challenger to either or both of them.

Posted by: srw3 | December 9, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"why do we care what Lieberman thinks?

uh, we will need his vote...it sucks but welcome to the real world...

if it takes creating a stage for him to preen on and demonstrate his power and we get this nation on the health care reform highway finally it will be worth it..

and we know where Lieberman lives, I read once that revenge is a dish best enjoyed served cold...

and thank you again Ezra for timely reporting, glad to see the WPost still has working journalists...


Posted by: teoc2 | December 9, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Good call on Lieberman, Ezra. I was a little confused when they announced that a trigger was still there; I figured they would want to throw it out completely. It makes a lot of sense for Joe to kill the trigger white rabbit, put its head on his wall, crow about it to the media for a bit, and then vote for (at least) cloture.

Posted by: OSheaman | December 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

They should do whatever they need to do to get Lieberman's vote, then as soon as the Bill is passed, they should strip him of his chairmanships.

I figure that one good backstab deserves another.

Posted by: zosima | December 9, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

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