Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and David Vitter (R-La.) no doubt thought they were being clever. They crafted an amendment that would force members of Congress to get their coverage through a public insurance plan, if the public option were included as part of health care reform. If it's good enough for American consumers, it should be good enough for their elected representatives, right?
They had no idea how much Democrats agreed with the sentiment.
As we talked about this morning, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) not only loved the idea, he wanted to join the right-wing senators as a co-sponsor on their amendment. When they refused -- this was supposed to be a conservative stunt, not a real idea -- Brown used procedural tactics to make himself a co-sponsor of the Coburn/Vitter measure, whether they like it or not.
Then, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said she, too, wanted to join. Soon after, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) endorsed the Coburn/Vitter amendment and also asked to be a co-sponsor. "If we have a public option in this plan, as I hope that we will, I think there's nothing wrong in insisting that members of Congress be included in that public option proposal," Dodd said, calling the idea "wonderful."
These guys are taking away all of Coburn's and Vitter's fun.
The taking-their-ball-home-and-refusing-to-play clock has officially started, my darlings.
Now, mind you, Coburn's the same fucktard who thinks America's the best place in the whole wide world to get sick, despite evidence to the contrary. It's no wonder he got pwnd so easily.
Meanwhile, Cornyn's completely confused about Medicare. The Cons' inability to grasp simple concepts never ceases to amaze.
Cons screamed and howled over cuts to Medicare Advantage subsidies, despite the fact they were for them before they were against them. Their sound and fury was all for nought - the cuts stay in. Let the war of the robocalls begin!
I wonder when Dem and Con fiscal scolds will realize they have no legs to stand on, especially as they keep cutting their own legs from beneath them by howling over things such as cuts to wasteful Medicare spending?
Time to take the Smack-o-Matic to some tender Dem behinds. Such as Ben Nelson's. Ben, it seems, is throwing a tantrum over abortion amendments, and wants everybody to know he'd be happy to filibuster if he doesn't get his way. I have three words for Harry Reid: don't encourage him.
At least Casey's not quite so stupid.
So, what's happening on the public option front, you ask? Argh. Well, it seems the Senate's scrambling for compromises (as if we haven't compromised enough). Sherrod Brown's not interested in compromises and is one of the few liberal senators left holding his ground. Mary Landrieu - well, whatever she's saying is completely incoherent, so fuck if I know what's going through her sad little mind.
The mighty marvel team-up of Lieberman (I - which can only stand for Idiot) and Collins had some fun misrepresenting the public option, until Sen. Specter told them they might want to go back and actually, y'know, read the bill's public option section. It shouldn't take them all that long - after all, the whole bill has fewer words than a Harry Potter novel. If children can manage to slog through a book of that size, I think Senators should be grown-up enough to manage this.
Reading comprehension, on the other hand, could still remain problematical.
Here's a tale of two amendments. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's amendment, which "requires insurers to cover preventive care and screenings for women, at no cost to the patient," passed handily. Strangely enough, Con Sen. Lisa Murkowski's alternative amendment, which "would rely on private insurers to set the standards for preventive coverage," strangely didn't pass. Could it be the Senate's losing its stomach for insurance company giveaways?
In closing, I just want to note something: while Dems have brought a health care reform bill to the floor, all Cons have offered is Sen. Gregg's obstruction manual. That's right. Gregg wrote a whole big set of directions telling Cons exactly how to obstruct, obfuscate, and otherwise fuck everything up, and this is their solution to reform. Yes, this comes from the same Sen. Gregg who was against obstructionism before he was for it.
Harry Reid had a field day with that one:
This morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seized on the document: "The good news is that Senate Republicans finally, at long last, have put a detailed plan down on paper. The bad news is that it's not, as we'd hoped, a plan to make health care insurance more affordable; it's not one to make health insurance companies more accountable; and it's certainly not a plan to reverse rapidly rising health care costs and draw down our deficit.
"The Republican plan we've waited weeks and months to see ... [is] not even about health care at all. The first and only plan Senate Republicans could be bothered to write up is an instructional manual on how to bring the Senate to a screeching halt. We knew that was happening anyway, but they had the audacity to put it in writing."
Yes, they did, and it's one of those things we should bring up at every opportunity.
Such is the sausage-making process. Frequently not pretty, but at least some bits are amusing.