Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unless It Gets Crazy

From Digby here.
Here's a little tidbit. Blanche Lincoln's Arkansas partner, David Mark Pryor, says he won't join Republicans in a filibuster of health care reform unless something "crazy" happens.

Mike Stark got him on camera:
Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, whose own stance on health care remains an open question, cautioned, “I think she’s been careful to say that she supports it coming out of committee, but no guarantees on final passage because it’s going to change quite a bit between now and then.”

This reporting seemed pretty useless to me, but it sounded vaguely ominous. I thought it would be a good idea ask point blank: would he support a filibuster of a Senate Health Care Reform bill? Here’s his answer:

[Watch video below]

It's an interesting back and forth, with Pryor clearly very wary of saying anything meaningful. But I think Stark's framing is excellent, especially since it got Pryor to say that he thinks that members of a majority party joining with the minority to filibuster a majority supported bill is not unprecedented --- after all, it happened during the civil rights debates to keep African Americans from having equal rights.

Now there's a tradition to be proud of...

Update: More interesting news from Arkansas:

First he was for it. Then he was against it. Now Rep. Mike Ross is back on board with a government-run healthcare plan. Sort of.

Ross (D-Ark.), who had emerged as a leader among centrist Blue Dog Democrats opposing the public health insurance option, has suggested something his colleagues consider even more drastic – opening Medicare to those under 65 without insurance.

He made the suggestion in meetings with House Democratic leaders and brought the idea to the closed-door House Democratic Caucus meeting Thursday.

"I — speaking only on behalf of myself — suggested one possible idea could be that instead of creating an entirely new government bureaucracy to administer a public option, Medicare could be offered as a choice," Ross said in a statement to The Hill.

Medicare would then compete with private insurers across the age spectrum. It would be open to those who don't have insurance through their employers, the same people who would be covered by the public option already under discussion.
That's a terrific idea. Let's do it.

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