Lieberman Pledges To Filibuster House Bill: The Public Option Is ‘Unnecessary’

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"Lieberman Pledges To Filibuster House Bill: The Public Option Is ‘Unnecessary’"

This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) about the House’s historic passage of health care legislation last night. Lieberman said that as a “matter of conscience,” he will join a Republican filibuster if a public option — which has supposedly been put forward “by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance” — is also included in the bill that goes before the Senate:

LIEBERMAN: A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance. They’ve got a right to do that; I think that would be wrong.

But worse than that, we have a problem even greater than the health insurance problems, and that is a debt — $12 trillion today, projected to be $21 trillion in 10 years.

WALLACE: So at this point, I take it, you’re a “no” vote in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today. I don’t want to do that to our children and grandchildren.

Watch it:

Late last month, Lieberman told reporters that he was planning to filibuster a public option. But a few days later, the Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office was confident Lieberman would “vote with Democrats in the necessary procedural vote to end debate, perhaps with intentions to change the bill.” Today, Lieberman made it clear where he stands.

It isn’t really Lieberman’s “conscience” that is driving him to oppose the public option — more likely it’s his ego (since he told reporters that he likes feeling “relevant“). After all, Lieberman opposed the Senate Finance Committee bill even though it didn’t have a public option, and in 1994, his “conscience” told him that the filibuster was “unfair” and shouldn’t be used to block major legislation. He has also asserted that the public option would raise premiums and increase the debt, even though the Congressional Budget Office has disputed those claims. Furthermore, 60 percent of his constituents support a public option, but Lieberman has dismissed them as just being “confused.”

Transcript:

WALLACE: The House passed health care. What do you think of the bill they passed, and do you still intend — if there is a public option and there is this tax on so-called cadillac health plans — will you support a Republican filibuster on final passage in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there’s some good things in House-passed plan. I think we ought to do health care reform this year to deal with the two great problems that President Obama and others have talked about. There are unsustainable continuing increases in the cost of health care; we’ve got to stop that. And there are millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance.

But I’m afraid our colleagues in the House added a lot onto that that subtract from the genuine purposes of health care reform, and one was to create a public option plan. A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance. They’ve got a right to do that; I think that would be wrong.

But worse than that, we have a problem even greater than the health insurance problems, and that is a debt — $12 trillion today, projected to be $21 trillion in 10 years.

WALLACE: So at this point, I take it, you’re a “no” vote in the Senate?

LIEBERMAN: If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today. I don’t want to do that to our children and grandchildren.

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