This is fun:
“Don’t take it personally” is what petty Joe Lieberman says in response to Franken not letting him have the floor to spew bullsh*t. Meanwhile open enrollment season has personally brought 9 to 20+% increase to health insurance premiums. Lieberman’s daddy John McCain had Lieberman’s back and talked about the “comity” of the upper house being ruined by Franken following parliamentary procedure after 10 minutes of his lackey enjoying the spotlight. As a representative of his constituency, he Franken and other dems should take it personally, its their job to.
The Senate bill is worse off than the house bill because the Blue Dogs and Lieberman took hold of it, but it isn’t useless. I agree with the folks that say we should try and pass the best reforms we can now and fight more battles in the future to improve it. Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights are just some of the progressive battles that couldn’t be won in the first bill.
What progressive bloggers, think tankers and union lawyers should do right now is comb the bill to find provisions we can pressure democratic party leadership to modify to improve in conference committee or through amendment now. Then we should phone bank around those issues and get pledges from house leadership (and senators) to strip or constrict the measures we do not like. Unions should be mobilizing all membership against “cadillac plan” taxes and make them convert those taxes to taxes on the wealthy. If the Blue Dogs want to tax/demonize “cadillac plans”, which unions often have fought for as part of collective bargaining, then progressives should attach these negative provisions to some other mandatory progressive provisions implementation.
There may be explicit annual or lifetime coverage limits. If there are, they need to be modified or removed along with mandates. If they can’t, can these bad parts of the bill be conditionally attached to community rating requirements? Can the mandate be attached to a insurance company mandate that any subsidized insurance plan spend at least 85 to 90 cents on the dollar on providing care? I don’t know much about the x’s and o’s of conference committees, but I would imagine this type of thing can be done at that level.
The White House wants a signing ceremony before the State of The Union address, our Congress loves vacation and we need to start health care reform now and get climate change legislation and financial regulation moving right now. We should hammer as much junk as possible out of this bill and then map out the next battle for another 4 to 10 years. In addition, people are getting laid off and companies aren’t hiring because its the holidays, I am not saying progressives go out and tea bag it up, but now is the time to start hammering the big bankers and rightfully attach them to our economic collapse.
Until democrats pass climate change or financial regulatory reform, progressives can’t afford elected, liberal champions of these issues to not be on TV, radio and op-ed pages as much as John McCain is re:everything and Ron Paul re:financial matters and Sarah Palin is re:climate change. Yes folks, it ain’t up to just President Obama to sell the platform week in week out. Anthony Weiner’s and Al Franken’s explanations of single payer and the health care reform still make any Blue Dogs’ hedging look silly. Whomever that representative or Senator is for financial regulatory reform and climate change policy needs to get a nice Christmas recess vacation, and get ready to make 2010 a gauntlet of a year.
In addition, treasury and the fed can change how they operate at the President’s behest. Financial reform can’t be a function of legislation only. Its too big and too much political capital has been spent on TARP, the stimulus plan, and now health care. The same goes with the EPA and dept. of the interior w/regards to climate change policy. We need to remind our congressional leaders that before they carry water for the Obama White House, the White House needs to put some skin in the game by enacting reforms in the executive branch.