Give an inch, they take miles:
A leader of the House liberals’ caucus said Monday she’ll introduce new legislation to revive the public option.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she plans to unveil legislation to add the government-run option to the national healthcare exchange established by legislation President Barack Obama is to sign tomorrow.
“We will introduce a robust public option bill on the very day the president signs the reconciliation bill into law,” Woolsey said Monday during an interview on MSNBC.
The public insurance option had been a part of the healthcare legislation first approved by the House in November, but Senate Democratic leaders were forced to abandon the provision after it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to get all 60 Democrats (at the time) to sign onto legislation containing that provision.
Woolsey and her co-chairman of the caucus, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), had pushed for the public option throughout the different stages of the health debate, but still ended up voting in favor of the legislation in the end, despite some threats to do otherwise earlier in the process.
Not that this is exactly surprising. Earlier this month Woolsey, a shameless apologist for an admitted rapist and who also late last year suggested the IRS should “scruitinze” Catholic bishops for … their strong support of the “Stupak amendment”, wrote an opinion piece for Roll Call in which she said she’d introduce the politically poisonous public option the day after ObamaCare passed. Because the monstrosity that is ObamaCare just is not, you know, complete without a “public option.”
The President, too, would be on board with it if he could get assurances that it had enough votes to pass – one way or another. From an early March Mother Jones piece:
With some 36 Senators (and counting) now signed on to support the public option, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, expressed cautious optimism about the proposal passing through reconciliation. “I’m not sure that the public option is dead at this point,” Woolsey told Mother Jones on Thursday, adding that support for government-run health care plan in the Senate keeps “growing and growing.”
Woolsey, along with other members of key House committees, met with Obama on Thursday and pressed the issue with the president. “The president doesn’t believe there are 51 votes in the Senate, but if there [are], he’ll support it,” she said. The Progressive Caucus has been actively lobbying the upper chamber to include the provision in the package of reconciliation changes to the comprehensive bill, which has already passed the Senate and is pending a vote in the House.
Whether or not the public option makes it into the final legislation, Woolsey emphasized that House progressives would generally support the bill. “We’re pretty together as a caucus,” Woolsey said. “The President laid out the broad outlines of the plan—I know that’s probably all that he could have gotten from the Senate.”
But even if the public plan doesn’t make it into the current bill, Woolsey suggested that she’d be interested in passing the proposal separately—an idea that Senator Sherrod Brown recently floated. “Somewhere along the way, it’s going to be absolutely necessary to have competition” that the public option would provide, Woolsey said. “Health care reform, as big as it is, is not a final product.”
Gird your loins and shine up your armor. We have another battle coming.
Related reading: Rich Lowry – Five Reasons Not to Despair