Terrifying Socialist Bernie “Red Menace” Sanders, speaking on Neil Cavuto’s nightly program Gettin’ Paid, said that he will NOT vote for the Senate health care bill as it stands. ThinkProgress reports Sanders as saying:
“I’m struggling with this. As of this point, I’m not voting for the bill. … I’m going to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I’ve indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point. And here is the reason. When the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman’s action, what I worry about is how do you control escalating health care costs?” [emphasis in original.]
This marks the first time in decades that a Democrat (he caucuses with them, anyway) has stood up for something they profess to believe in.
Relatedly, polls are now showing that many Americans who are probably bleeding right now are starting to sour on the health care bill. Television celebrity Chuck Todd tweeted this, which makes it true [via FDL]:
“44% say better NOT to pass the current #hcr plan, while 41% say better SOMETHING passes. First time NBC-WSJ poll had that upside down.”
Todd also tweeted that support among Democrats is fading, which could only have been predicted by someone who happened to be alive.
“Most of the movement on the “bad idea” comes from some of the president’s core support groups, folks upset about lost public option.”
Yep, hard to believe that compromising away everything progressive in the bill and then crowning Lieberman king of the Senate pissed some people off.
Sanders’ decision tonight to voice his opposition to the bill is one of the few pieces of good news that’s come out of the health care debate in recent weeks. It will undoubtedly excite progressives, who have seen Democratic leadership jettison the public option and the early Medicare buy-in, in part because they never really wanted them. No word yet on the White House’s reaction, but don’t expect them all of a sudden to let Sanders dictate the terms of the debate like they did with Lieberman.
UPDATE: As Michael Roston pointed out below, Sanders has said he’ll vote against the bill, but not necessarily against cloture. What this means, essentially, is that Sanders could let the bill get to a final vote by siding with the Democrats on cloture–the process which limits debate and ensures a vote–but then vote against the bill in the final vote. We don’t know yet if that’s what he’s planning on, but TPM reports that Sanders is “working with leadership to figure out a way to vote for cloture,” which is to say working to ensure there is a vote on the bill.