October 27th, 2009
02:09 PM ET
5 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. Zach K

    Oh Joe, There You Go Again.

    You betray our party and you want to tie up loose ends after your friend McCain lost, but I'd say bye bye to you in 2012.

    October 27, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    KUDOS to Joe Lieberman!

    October 27, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. brad

    Sorry. But from a major insurance state CT. Not sure if his opinion isn't bias. Independent, Republican or Democrat. Doesn't matter.

    October 27, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. midwest liberal

    Why doesn't Old Uncle Joe put and (R) next to his name and title and get it over with...

    October 27, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Angilix

    The great betrayer strikes again.

    October 27, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Assiecgee

    So when is Droopy–the cartoon dog with a meak voice and deadpan face–going to jump ship from the Democratic Party and go Republican rogue on us? He basically has rejected about every Democratic core value. Is Benedict Lieberman waiting for a proper fitting of the Darth Vader mask, a la Rick Moranis in "Space Balls", or what?

    October 27, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. vicky from Milwaukee

    Well Joe. What about all the state run insurance companies, Title 19, Medicare, Medicaid? You have turned into a mean spirited, nasty old man.

    October 27, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Vito

    It sounds like Senator Lieberman is having trouble understanding the bill. The public option under consideration would not be funded by taxpayers and would be prohibited from drawing on general Treasury funds; it would be funded solely by those who choose to purchase it. It's not like Medicare or Medicaid which are provided as a sort of "welfare" entitlement to people - the public option is a product which people can choose to buy if they want. Taxpayer funds will provide subsidies to lower and middle income people (and Senator Lieberman says he supports this), but those subsidies would be equivalent whether they are used for a public or private option. Finally, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has found that, if you're going to have subsidies, including a public option reduces the cost to taxpayers.

    October 27, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    well.....at least there is some sanity in DC........

    get used to it Dirty Harry and Botox Babe....the Public Option.......D O A

    October 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. AssieMcGee

    So when is Droopy–the cartoon dog with droopy jowels, a meak voice and a deadpan face–going to jump ship from the Democratic Party and go Republican rogue on us? Benedict Lieberman has basically has rejected about every Democratic core value that you can. Is this sad shell of man waiting for a proper fitting of the Darth Vader mask, a la Rick Moranis in "Space Balls", or what?

    October 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. Sean

    Yeah Joe! Using OUR tax payer dollars for such a ridiculous "entitlement" as our health care is preposterous. I would much rather you continue to use our tax dollars to kill all of those Muslims who hate us because of our freedoms. Of course, you are only using your concerns about fiscal responsibility to provide cover when your real motivation is to only serve your puppet masters: Big Pharma, Insurance Companies, and Wall Street.

    We want Revolution, Joe! And we are coming for you....

    Your humble serf,

    Sean

    October 27, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. They call me "tater salad"

    "Once a slimey Republican, always a slimey Republican!" "A Leopard can't change it's spots!" "You can't teach an old dog new tricks!" "Birds of a feather flock together!" Joe Lieberman fits all of these old cliche's! He is a dirtbag, fence sitting, opportunist, who only wants to play for whatever team that appears to be winning the game at any given point during said game! Can you say major, credibilty issues?

    October 27, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. fumblinstumblinoidiot

    Good for you Joe. This is just another Obama fiasco that America doesn't want. How about the war mr president

    October 27, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Moderate Sean

    What a joke of a Senator Mr. Lieberman has turned into...time for CT to look elsewhere should he chose to run for re-election at the conclusion of his term.

    October 27, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. katiec

    Who in the world cares what this turncoat says??
    He is a republican through and through and am sure this will
    be his last term in office.

    October 27, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. rob

    I can see how Lieberman will provide cover for centrist Dems to also withhold support. The only way they get this passed in the Senate is with the so-called "Nuke Option" with only 50 votes, and they may not even be able to do that.

    The best thing that can happen to "Health Care Reform" is for it to fail now and be brought up again after the Mid-term elections in 2010. That way we may get a truely bi-partisan bill without the Gov't option.

    October 27, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Bob Eling

    Always a somewhat free thinker, not pushed around the masses on the left or the right.

    October 27, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Richard Lees

    Throw Lieberman out of the Democrat's caucus and strip him of his chairmanships. At least it will then be clear that the Democrats do not have a 60 vote control of the Senate. The guy is loyal to nobody.

    October 27, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. SLM

    Go Joe! Instead of the Democrats trying to cram this disaster of a health care bill through as a package deal, they need to slow down and do it right. Work on an area at a time, like reforming health insurance companies, Tort reform and allowing insurers to cross state lines to compete. Make health insurance affordable and available for all to purchase...............Keep the government out of our health care, they can't run anything efficiently. Republicans have better options, Democrats don't like them because it would require personal repsonsibility and not entitlement programs. Sorry, but the 53% of us that actually have to pay income tax are broke and can no longer afford to support the 47% that pay NO income tax.

    October 27, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Bryan

    Now we will see Obama, Reid and Pelosi try to destroy Lieberman because he had the audacity to speak his mind.

    Thugs sometimes speak softly and wear suits

    October 27, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Disgusted

    How come there's always money for war 'for which taxpayers will be on the line'??? Why do so many American politicians love to beat the war-drum yet are hell-bent on denying their most disadvantaged citizens access to good healthcare? Absurd and immoral.

    October 27, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Make sense or silence

    So no compromise whatsoever? Enough is enough! Do the state opt out and trigger option for 'opt-out' states. Reconcile and bring this home. We have other problems. NEXT!

    October 27, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Kim

    Joe Lieberman is a spineless nasally little man who cow tows to every PAC he can. He is a sell out back stabber. In the last 5 years he has raised 19 Million through fund raising. His largest sellout is to Wallstreet with 2 Million raised in the last 4 years.... Remember as a Senator they make About 175,000 He has Raised ONE HUNDRED Times that amount for HIS REELECTION over the last 5 yearsor TWENTY TIMES his wages per years. So I who does Joe work for?

    Numbers obtained through opensecrets.org

    October 27, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. lamuella

    for halloween I'm going to go as Joe Lieberman. I'll wear a perfectly nice suit, but I'll turn up at the wrong party.

    October 27, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Proud American

    Does Lieberman have any backbone???

    October 27, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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