Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Burn, Bernie, Burn!

Sam Stein on HuffPo has this from my favorite U.S. senator:

One of the Senate's most vocal progressives is demanding that the Democratic Party commit to voting against filibustering health care legislation now that, with the impending arrival of Al Franken, the party has 60 caucusing members.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), called on the White House and Democratic leadership in Congress to ensure that party members agree unanimously to support cloture on legislation that would revamp the nation's health care system. Democratic senators on the fence, he added, could still oppose the bill. But at the very least they should be required to let the legislation come to an up-or-down vote.
"I think that with Al Franken coming on board, you have effectively 60 Democrats in the caucus, 58 and two Independents," Sanders said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "I think the strategy should be to say, it doesn't take 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. It takes 60 votes to stop a filibuster. I think the strategy should be that every Democrat, no matter whether or not they ultimately end up voting for the final bill, is to say we are going to vote together to stop a Republican filibuster. And if somebody who votes for that ends up saying, 'I'm not gonna vote for this bill, it's too radical, blah, blah, blah, that's fine.'"
"I think the idea of going to conservative Republicans, who are essentially representing the insurance companies and the drug companies, and watering down this bill substantially, rather than demanding we get 60 votes to stop the filibuster, I think that is a very wrong political strategy," Sanders added.

Moderate Democrats--the ones with lots of health insurer dough--are dead-set against single payer plans. There's been lots of talk of co-ops and other half-measures from too many members of the party in charge of change. Watch single payer advocate Nick Skala describe his trip to meet with the Progressive Caucus in early June (I probably should've put quotation marks around "progressive," as you'll see...):

Yeah, I know the old joke: Congress is the opposite of progress. But that doesn't mean that I think it's funny.

BeltwayBlips: vote it up!

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