Sen. Joe Lieberman reiterated in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he would be prepared to filibuster a health care bill that included any sort of government plan.
“I’m going to be stubborn on this,” Lieberman told the WSJ. In follow up questions, he said that he would not support any kind of a government plan, even the so-called “trigger” option that would create such a plan if insurers did not meet certain government targets.
Lieberman’s position complicates Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s efforts to obtain the 60 votes necessary to pass health care legislation, though in and of itself it may not be enough to block the bill’s passage. Sen. Olympia Snowe has been a proponent of a “trigger” option, and it’s possible that Democrats could afford to lose Lieberman if they can get her on board. And in the interview, Lieberman still insists that they’ll end up passing a bill.
Yet even if Reid can get some sort of agreement in principle on a compromise with Lieberman and other wobbly Democratic moderates, there’s no guarantee that it will make it through the Senate. That’s because now that the bill is on the floor, 60 votes are required to make any changes, and Democratic Senators will be under heavy pressure from liberal activists to not cave on the government plan.
And this doesn’t even take into account the dispute over abortion language, and the fact that even after passing the Senate, the bill would still have to be reconciled with the House version, and then pass both chambers again.