“We Have a Tire Track On Our Chest”: President Obama Faces Possible Rebellion of House Democrats

Aug 17, 2009 8:24pm

The president’s liberal allies on health care reform have a message for the president: Don’t think you can drop the public option without a fight.


“If the president thinks we’re gonna get the votes without the public option, he’s got another think coming,” Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, told ABC News. “That won’t pass the House.”


Over the weekend, the President seemed to change his tone on whether a final health care reform bill had to include a public option — something that just two months ago, he indicated was a deal-breaker.


“Any plan I sign must include an insurance exchange…including a public option to increase competition and keep insurance companies honest,” President Obama said on June 23.


But over the weekend, Obama seemed to downplay the importance of the inclusion of the plan in health care reform legislation.


“The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it,” he said in Grand Junction, Colo.


Weiner said while the White House may be able to pick up one or two senators by forgoing the public option, it will lose 100 Democratic votes in the House


“I think that we have a majority of the votes in the house and Senate for a public plan,” Weiner said. “It won’t be easy but I think they’re there. But they’re certainly not gonna be there if every time we turn around there’s another White House official walking away from it.”



Weiner indicated that some in the president’s own party feel betrayed after supporting him on health care reform and then taking lumps from constituents.


“Some of us who have gotten roughed up pretty good at town hall meetings and stuck in there because we believe in this, now kind of feel like we have a tire track on our chest where the bus that rolled over us is,” Weiner said.


A government-run public health insurance option has long been a centerpiece of President Obama’s plans for health care reform. Two months ago Obama indicated that it would be in the final health care legislation he signs into law.


Karen Travers and I wrote more about this HERE.


-jpt

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