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Dem Rep. Jim Cooper Details How Close PelosiCare Vote Really Was

Morgen on November 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Excerpts from an interview with Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) by “sneaky” Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein:

Klein: The slim margin surprised many observers. Do you buy the argument that there were a number of congressmen who would have voted for the bill if they’d been needed?

Cooper: I think the actual number was closer to 210. The leadership had to move heaven and earth to get to 220. The achievement of the leadership was to corral the votes at the last minute, and that is a great achievement that should not be diminished, and they did that by making major concessions they didn’t want to make…

One of the climactic moments was the caucus meeting two or three weeks ago. They took a public whip count. Normally whip counts are private. So this was astonishing to many members.

The specific question was whether you were for a robust public option or not. And they just went through the names. Early in the alphabet, one member answered that he was for that, but against the overall bill. Someone in leadership shouted out that that meant you were against the whole thing. So it became about reform as a whole. There were a shocking number of committee chairmen and regular members, not Blue Dogs or anything, who said they were against the reform. Jaws started dropping around the room.

I really don’t see any path by which this bill passes, even if it makes it out of the Senate. And I ultimately think the liberal deception over the public option will be primarily to blame. By inflating the expectations of the progressive caucus and their grass roots supporters, while at the same time informing anyone else paying attention that they ultimately expect the public option to takeover the entire system. With Sen. Lieberman and even some House Democrats now openly stating that the public option will lead to a single payer system, it’s safe to say that Democrats have all but lost the battle with moderates in their own party over this issue.

If passing a bill that would transform one-sixth of our economy with a 50.5% margin is cause for celebration – with nearly 40 of their own members voting against it – it’s clear that the Administration and House leadership is more than just a little out of touch with the majority of Americans.

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Category: Health & Education |

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