Progressives Have Constituents Too
The progressives had a conference call today:
In the face of White House backsliding Monday, Pelosi reiterated that a public option is essential to reform. Pelosi gave the caucus a "pep talk," one attendee said, pushing the party to keep pressing the message. She assured an ultimate victory.
"Everyone has said on the record that they would support [the public option]. But there is a concern that the conference report would give them an out," said an aide briefed on the call by his boss. "Some people spoke up and said, 'We can't give in on the conference report.'"
"I was surprised there were so many people who were still so firm on [the public option]," said a participant. "A lot of people were saying this is what they're hearing from their constituents."
You don't say ...
And as for those co-ops:
Wisconsin Democrats David Obey and Tammy Baldwin told the caucus about the performance of the state's own public health insurance option and co-op. The co-op hasn't saved the state any money whatsoever and shouldn't be a model for a national plan, said Obey, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Baldwin concurred, adding that the state's public option -- seniors can buy state-sponsored health care for a nominal fee -- cut costs by two-thirds.
I seem to recall somebody saying not long ago that they were all about "what works." Seems to me we have a pretty good idea of what that is.
Update: This NYT story indicates that it comes as some sort of surprise that progressives have just suddenly decided to hang tough. That's just not true. I first wrote about this back on June 3rd:
Darcy mentioned to me that this week is an important moment in the health care debate, in which it might be helpful for members of the netroots to weigh in with a little positive reinforcement to the progressive caucus, which has been holding the leadership's feet to the fire on the public plan option. Everyone pretty much agrees that if that goes down, health care reform will be a meaningless shell game.
I was somewhat surprised frankly (in a good way)to hear the the progressives caucus had pulled together on this one and was actually wielding some clout. They represent over 70 m4mbers of congress, which is a big bloc of votes. If they can stick together on the public plan, it will happen.
If one of these House members is your Congressional Representative, all the better. But contact one or more of them even if they aren't. They need to know that people other than lobbyists and big donors are engaged and informed on this and that we know what's at stake with the public plan.
The Village seems to have just awakened to the fact that the progressives are holding the line, but they've been organized around this for months.
Which reminds me. If you haven't thrown some money to the caucus please click here and give them your support.
Check it out: