The votes weren’t even finished yet in the U.S. Senate, and already a lot of Democrats were making noise about what should or should not be in a final health care reform bill in Congress.
“The Senate health care bill is not worthy of the historic vote that the House took a month ago,” wrote Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Chair of the House Rules Committee.
Slaughter didn’t just demand major changes in the Senate bill, as she argued for the public option and more – she said the Senate needs to hit the reset button.
“It’s time that we draw the line on this weak bill and ask the Senate to go back to the drawing board. The American people deserve at least that.”
Slaughter isn’t just anyone. As the head of the Rules Committee, she serves in that post as a top lieutenant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Meanwhile, two more liberal lawmakers also issued a statement demanding a public option, which does not have the votes to get through the U.S. Senate.
“If the bill requires people to buy health insurance, there must be a public option to bring down costs,” wrote Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
On the other side of the Capitol, the markers are down as well, mainly from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Ben Nelson (R-NE).
Lieberman made clear this week that if there is a public option, he will filibuster a final health care bill.
“That would be a very sad ending,” said Lieberman in a Senate floor speech.
Nelson has also made clear he wants abortion funding restrictions in the bill, and that without those, he reserves the right to filibuster.
So where is the middle ground?
That’s the balancing act that Democratic leaders will have to deal with in coming weeks, and after so much attention on all the wheeling and dealing in the Senate, there will be lots of people watching to see if the sweetheart deals continue in the New Year.