Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Aetna/Prudential) is determined to carry out his threat to support a Republican filibuster of health care. Lieberman is now opposed to any bill with a public option OR an expanded Medicare provision: Lieberman delivered his ultimatum on CBS's Face the Nation and later to Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) face.
According to the source, who was briefed on the exchange, Lieberman punctuated the discussion by telling the majority leader directly that he will vote against the bill if the Medicare buy-in and public option provisions remain in it. Roll Call reports that Lieberman said he would also support a Republican filibuster of legislation that included these provisions. "Leadership was definitely a bit surprised with the lines being drawn in the sand the way they were," said the source. "We expected that he would say critical things about [the bill]. But he is not even giving us a chance to get it scored. The pledge by Lieberman to oppose the bill represents a potentially huge setback for reform proponents, many of who saw the latest round of policy compromises as the last true chance to corral the needed votes. That said, leadership has several fallback options (none of them promising) should Lieberman follow through on the threat.
Only days ago. Lieberman said he was "open to looking at" Reid’s Medicare buy-in compromise. That must have been before Aetna and Blue Cross called Joe's office with their latest talking points. Cannot wait until the day when we can call this man FORMER Homeland Security Committee Chairman.
UPDATE: White House reportedly abandons Medicare compromise, tells Reid to cut a deal with Lieberman. The White House officially denies these reports but other reports suggest WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel personally lobbied Reid to deal with Lieberman.