October 27th, 2009
02:09 PM ET
4 years ago

Lieberman rejects public option, won't vote for cloture

Sen. Lieberman said Tuesday that he opposes any kind of public health insurance option.
Sen. Lieberman said Tuesday that he opposes any kind of public health insurance option.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters Tuesday that he will support Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a procedural motion in order to start the health care debate - but opposes any kind of public option, including state opt-out and trigger provisions, and will ultimately not vote to approve any health care bill that includes any version of a public option.

The announcement means that even if Reid is able to get a measure introducing a public option that allows states to opt out onto the Senate floor for debate, Lieberman - who caucuses with the Democrats - won't provide a crucial vote needed to get it off the floor and up for a final vote.

"I am strongly inclined, and I have had this conversation with Sen. Reid several times, to vote for the motion to proceed to take up the bill. Why? Because I want to vote for health care reform legislation, so I'd like the debate to begin," said the Connecticut senator. "But I've also made clear to Sen. Reid that if the bill remains as it is now, I will vote against cloture, to finish the bill and pass it affirmatively."

Lieberman said the inclusion of an opt-out provision would not change his position.

"To me, the opt out doesn't change the basic facts. The last thing we want to do now is create another Washington-run health insurance company," he said. "There's enough good things that we're talking about - health care delivery reforms, insurance market reforms, extending coverage to people who don't have it now. I think we're just asking for trouble that the taxpayers don't need. I think the end result of it - I mean we are having enough time sustaining Medicare."

The Democrat-turned-independent said he could not support the creation of a public option because "it still creates a whole new government created entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line."

"I can't see a way in which I can vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-and-run insurance company, it's just asking for trouble," he said. He also rejected the idea of a "trigger" option that would allow for the launch of a new public option if the insurance industry failed to meet certain coverage benchmarks. "I feel this way about a national government-run health insurance company whether it's a trigger or not," he said.

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Filed under: Democrats • Health care • Joe Lieberman • Senate
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    Yes! You GO, Joe! We must simply defeat Harry and Nancy's Public Option..... WE....CANNOT.....AFFORD....IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There is definitely bi-partisanship here....and it is AGAINST this liberal tax and spend "reform".

    October 27, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. awestruck

    Thank you Joe!

    October 27, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Anne E.

    Lieberman's position seems subject to anyway the wind blows.
    I can't wait for him to be sent packing.

    October 27, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    One would hope that this will be reason enough for CT to pull its head out of its proverbial backside and cease electing this buffoon...but it apparently wasn't enough when he became Bush's lapdog, so don't hodl your breath. Good on ya CT, good on ya.

    October 27, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. A.B.

    Joe Lieberman is a benedict arnold!! His true colors are showing.
    He might as well be a Republican–he thinks like them. Never the less, The train of healthcare reform is rolling to victory with or without Lieberman.

    October 27, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. The Truthsayer

    Senator Lieberman is just about the only democrat that has one ounce of smarts to him. He thinks real world and if we had more like him and less like reid and pearot i might vote for a democrat once again. As long as the leftists are in, i cannot vote for one to make them stronger. They are tearing apart the fabric of this great country. If we had more Lieberman's we would be on much stabler ground!

    October 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. munchmom

    Good for Joe! I like him more and more. Hope he runs as a Republican in the next Presidential election!

    October 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    Thank you Joe! A man who has some sense. reform what we already have, cap malpractice awards, and remove all pacs from insurance and unions....

    October 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Ben

    Even more reason for Reid to keep reconciliation on the table.

    October 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. The Truth

    Liebermann's state is where one of the biggest healthcare companies are headquartered at. I guess Lieberman doesn't work for the people but rather the insurance companies. Et tu Brute.

    October 27, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Edwin

    So he is in favor of voting on the bill... but he won't allow it to be voted on? What kind of double-talk is that? He is probably just afraid that he won't get any more kick-backs from the insurance lobby.

    October 27, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Tony in Maine

    Does this surprise anyone?

    The only thing that took so long was for him to receive direction from AHIP.

    October 27, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Idiot_Pelosi

    Yes, a true independent thinker with his own voice and opinion.

    We need mode politicians like this. You won't always agree with him, but at least he is not voting down some stupid party line.

    October 27, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Jack

    Joe is philosophically against a national government-run health insurance company, so it doesn't matter if people DIE.

    Joe is against Medicare then.
    As is everyone philosophically opposed to government insurance.
    Remember that, seniors (and those who will be).

    October 27, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Tommygunn

    This guy is just trying to make a name for himself. Since he didn't do anything as a VP runner, and his past years serving as a Democrat he's been playing patty-cake....

    I guess he wants to retire being a rebel but Democratic in nature with a Republican under clothes and an Independent top coat and hat.

    It's time for his state to RETIRE him from the Senate and the DEMOCRATIC party starts the trend with the Committee he currently chairs.....

    Go for IT....

    October 27, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Gene

    good for him. he listen to the real citizens of this country.

    October 27, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Ken

    Joe, put on a dress and get some ear-rings and then you'll be even more like Olympia Snowe angling for the spotlight. What are you trying to get Harry Reid to give you in exchange for your vote?

    October 27, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Doug, New Jersey

    Barney Frank admitted that with the Democrat party today, they simply do not care one bit about Americans, Health Care, Terrorism, Afganistan, nope they only are concerned with one thing, expanding the size, scope, and power of the federal government.

    Now think about why they want to do this, think about Obama's comments on every American who doesn't march lock step to his socialist ideology.

    If you have the slightest understanding of history, then you cannot ignore these patterns, history is repeating itself, it may have never fully happned on this contenent, but it most certainly will unless all good hearted Americans come together and vote against the Democrats.

    October 27, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Duck Fallas

    Lieberman went on to say, "I knew I wanted to be a consewvative the moment I tasted George Bush's sweet wips.

    Wowsy wowsy woo."

    October 27, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. jeff

    How did this guy ever get on the ticket with Al Gore? Pro war, pro big business, anti general populace. Next thing you know, he'll move to Kansas and push creationism.

    October 27, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. rachel

    Thank Goodness. These Dems think they are so slick. What possible motive would your job have to continue to help you pay for health benifits if the public option goes through. They slowy want everyone on a government plan. Sorry but I dont have confidence in the government run health plan when they cant even get a flu vaccine out in time.

    October 27, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom

    Of course! Is this really news? LIEberman is a Republican, and so he is in the pocket of Big Pharma & Big Insurance.

    45, 000 Americans die every year because they lack healthcare and the Republicans are OK with this!

    Public Option will ensure that there is competition which is the best of Capitalism!

    45,000 Americans are dying ....... do the Republicans care?

    October 27, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Jay

    Lieberman makes is a hypocrite. He's drunk too much Republican koolaid. If he fears Government run health care then he should be against Medicare as well.

    October 27, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Sen. Lieberman might as well be a republican. Let's see how much longer he holds onto his seat.

    October 27, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Read the Bill

    Finally, a level headed Senator. He understands about starting up a trillion dollar program at a time when we are flat broke, in a brittle recovery from a huge recession, and in debt to China for the next 100 years.

    I wonder if a poll would ask this question about the government option.

    Would you support the government option if it meant raising your taxes, potentially cutting your health services, for the price of increasing the national debt?

    October 27, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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