Momentum for Government Plan Stopped by Joe-Mentum

Yesterday, I wrote that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was taking a huge gamble by presenting health care legislation that included a government plan. Today, his bill hit a major roadblock when Sen. Joe Lieberman declared that he would outright support a filibuster of the proposal.

“I’ve told Sen. Reid that if the bill stays as it is now I will vote against cloture,” Lieberman said, according to the Politico.

Without Lieberman’s support, Reid won’t have the backing of 60 Senators he needs to bring legislation to the floor for a vote. In addition, Lieberman’s stance will take the pressure off Democrats opposed to the government plan, but torn over whether to support their party’s leadership or represent their constituents. Those Senators include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. If the bill doesn’t have the 60 votes anyway, why would these red state Senators support a bill and risk a major backlash at home?

Over the past week, the main health care story has been about the resurgence of the so-called “public option.” But this news should take some air out of that particular balloon.

Either Reid knows something that we don’t, or he just made another colossal blunder counting votes. Last week when he thought he could get 27 Republicans to support a $247 billion “doc fix” bill, but ended up losing 13 Democrats instead.