Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who caucuses with the Democrats, made headlines when he vowed to join the Republican filibuster the Senate health care bill unless the public option is removed from it.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, “A member of the majority has never before crossed party lines to filibuster with the minority. And that is exactly what Joe Lieberman is threatening to do to kill health care reform.” In fact, according to research dug up by Maddow and her staff, Lieberman has voted for cloture and allowed up-or-down floor votes on a number of major bills he opposed in the past:
— Lieberman joined 55 Republicans and 13 Democrats to back cloture for a bill that made it more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy. [5/8/05] He voted with the minority in opposing final passage. [5/10/05]
— Lieberman joined 93 other senators in voting for cloture on the Secure Fence Act, which beefed up the use of technology for border security. [9/20/06] He voted with the minority in opposing final passage. [9/29/06]
One of the most glaring examples of Lieberman’s past flexibility on filibusters was during the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Lieberman, who was part of the notorious “Gang of 14” that ended the chances of a filibuster of Alito’s nomination, explained his rationale to Fox News host Sean Hannity: “I did vote against the filibuster cause I thought that, you know, it was time to move on.”
Indeed, the same argument can now be made for health care.