The spokesman for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu told Raw Story Monday that removing the public option from the Senate’s health care reform bill wouldn’t be enough to win her vote.
“The senator’s number one concern is passing a bill that drives down costs,” Landrieu’s Communications Director Aaron Saunders said during a phone interview with Raw Story. “And that’s costs for families, costs for small businesses and costs for the government.”
A New York Times story indicated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may drop the public option from the final version of the Senate’s health care reform legislation.
According to the Times, in order to appeal to Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe “as well as to centrist Democrats like Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana,” Reid’s effort to reconcile competing health care reform proposals “would not include a proposal for a government-run insurance plan, or public option, despite the clamoring of liberals who support it, senior Democratic Senate aides said.”
The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent says Reid’s staff is “aggressively shooting down” the Times story and that no decision has been made on the public option. Even so, the public option may not make or break the votes of Nelson, Snowe and Landrieu.
Staff for Snowe and Nelson did not immediately return phone calls from Raw Story, but Saunders in Landrieu’s office said the public option was not her primary concern. According to Saunders, Landrieu will support a bill if it has “cost-containment approaches” for families, small businesses and the government.
“She’ll look at the comprehensive bill,” Saunders said. “But the number one priority is that it contains costs.”
The Times article added that top staffers from both the Senate Finance and the Senate health committees have begun meeting to hash out differences between the legislation endorsed by their respective panels. The health committee proposal includes a public option and is “far more expensive,” per the Times.
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak says it doesn’t matter which plan passes the Senate. According to Mackowiak, a former spokesman for Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, “the end game is reconciliation.”
“The Senate can pass anything, it doesn’t matter what it is,” Mackowiak told Raw Story, noting the House has the votes to pass legislation, and that if the Senate passes any version of a health care reform bill the measure will automatically go to a conference committee where members of both Houses will decide what to present as the final version.
“All they need to do [in the Senate] is pass anything the first time, then it goes into conference where they can’t filibuster it, and it becomes as simple as a 51 majority that could pass sweeping health care reform for the country,” Mackowiak said.
Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map
Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.
Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.
‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’: Joe Biden at Cape Cod fundraiser
Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican lawmakers in DC as "decent people" during a campaign fundraiser held at Cape Cod.
"There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there," Biden argued, according to Washington Post reporter Matt Viser.
"I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but...every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me," he said.
”Because they know I respect the other team. I do. They’re decent people," Biden claimed. "They ran because they care about things, but they’re intimidated right now.”
Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ holding live-fire militia trainings at ‘The Base’ near Spokane: report
One sign of the growing white nationalist crisis in America is a new outreach effort for paramilitary training.
"A neo-Nazi group focused on providing paramilitary-style training to far-right extremists has been conducting a massive recruitment drive and claims to have already conducted live-fire training with its members," Vice News reports.
"The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia," Vice reported. "The images often include a small contingent (typically one to three) of masked, camo-clad men holding weapons standing in front of The Base's flag, a black flag with three white lines running down the centre."