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. Ted Tartaglia

    The Democrats should strip this opportunist of his plum committee assignment and seniority. Let him caucus with the Republican'ts he adores.

    October 27, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Joe Lieberman is exactly correct in his summery of the Public Option. Why would the Federal Government all of the sudden become proficient at doing Health Care Insurance? The answer is, they will not. We do not need another huge gamble like the Stimulus Bill. But the Public Option would be even worse because at least when the Stimulus Bill is spent, it's spent. The Public Option would be another big dramatic political game to shut down and that is saddling future generations with just another problem.

    October 27, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. MVDCT

    Props to Senator Lieberman. As a CT resident, I'm extremely proud to have him represent us in the Senate.

    October 27, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Then what does Lieberman want? Is he going to be a Republican about it and not offer any other ideas or options. There are far to many problems for co-ops to be really viable. If you don't like the bill offer amendments and then vote no on it.

    October 27, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. katiec

    Am sure headlines like this are one of the reasons CNN's ratings are plumenting. According to other media outlets they are on the bottom of the barrel.
    Yet, they continue with their total bias for the GOP while claiming to
    be "fair" and "trustworthy".
    Even Jack Cafferty, who used to be the shining light on CNN and the only reason many of us tuned into CNN has joined the Blitzers etc in being totally negative about our president and the democratrc party.
    This is so disappointing as the Jack we loved, admired and trusted has totally disappeared.
    CNN is referred to by many as the second FOX.

    October 27, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Frederik

    Holy Joe the Hypocrite... always ready to put a knife in his party's back. Never understood why they tolerate this toad... they should have evicted him when he supported McCain over Obama....

    October 27, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Jay

    No surprise coming from a closet Republican that supported a loser in the last election. I hope the Dems pick up more seats in the Senate so they can finally cut this liar and betrayer loose. You should be ashamed to be calling yourself a Democrat and doing everything that Democrats wouldn't want you to do. I pray you lose the next election you two-faced piece of garbage.

    October 27, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Jim

    They should have censured him when he campaigned for McCain. Lieberman is a worthless piece of white trash...

    October 27, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. a little sad

    Can anyone who is against the public option please explain to me where an insurance company adds ANY value to the health care proecess?

    All they add are unnecessary costs, without actually providing any health care.

    October 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Irma in North Carolina

    Why dont he go join the republican party. He acts like one of them. He wants to support the big insurance companys. What does he care he has the best insurance around.

    October 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. scott in Atlanta

    How much longer must we be held hostage by these Republicans-in-disguise? The so called Independents and Blue mutts need to just admit their Republican affiliation so that everyone will know which way to vote the next time. Democrats need to be more focused in their targeting of those standing in the way of true reform. (ie, the Public Option)

    October 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. trustisearned

    Thank you Senator Lieberman.

    October 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Dem Wrong

    I am a Liberal who thought this Congressman was OK with his comments about the Republicans' Health care "plan." However, this kind of talk is Rush Limbaugh stuff. There was merit in what he said about Republican opposition to health care reform. Not constructive, not pretty, helpful to critics of the Left. Now, the quickest way for a politician to get CNN coverage: a) is it through careful thought tastefull presented; or b) not?

    October 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. andrew

    Old joe's done it again.

    Explain to me how this man is a democrat?
    Pro disfunctional war in iraq.
    Pro impreaching clinton
    Anti healthcare.

    Time and time and time again he kicks us. If he wants to be a republican fine, but why should he have powerful committee assignments during a democratic congress?

    October 27, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Carnell From The Motor City!

    It's Americas Political Version Of The Modern Day "Benedict Arnold!" Joe Lieberman. Does Anything This Man Try To Pull Surprise Anybody? We Saw In 2008 That This Technocolored Chameleon Would Stoop To Any Level To Stick It To Then Senator Obama And The Democrats.

    October 27, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. skurfer

    Joe is going to vote for the insurance companies who elected him,not the people of his state or the majority of Americans who want a public option.

    October 27, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Linda Feldman

    Lieberman, the self-righteous, self-appointed prosecutor of President Clinton, has now rendered himself politically irrelevant with his decision to vote against a public option. Supporting the opposition on an issue that the President campaigned for makes Lieberman part of the opposition. He was then and he is now.

    October 27, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Johnny DC

    Joe Lieberman may very well be the only truly noble statesman we have in Washington right now.

    Everything he said made perfect sense. It didn't necessarily align with his party's (or caucus, rather) intentions, but that is why there are 100 voters in the Senate, not 2.

    October 27, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Hennessy Cognac Black, WI

    Joe, Joe, Joe Lieberman, who would have ever thunk?

    A man who the Insurance Industry bought-and-paid for many, many years ago, NOT supporting a PUBLIC OPTION... GEE, this is about as much news as: water is wet and fire is hot...

    October 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Rod

    And how much money has Lieberman taken from the insurance industry? If this guy keeps health insurance reform from occuring, the Democratic majority needs to strip him of every single important committee position he currently holds...and pour every dollar that can be mustered against him if he decides to seek re-election again. He is an absolute poor excuse for a Senator. A public option is the only way that we will ever seen any relief from the private insurance industry.

    October 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Richard in California

    Why is it so hard to understand that the health care industry reaps huge profits on the backs of American workers and corporations? If the government offered a public option, health care insurance premiums would come down. The US Government is not in it to give multi-million dollar "bonuses" to its executives like Cigna and other health insurance companies.

    Whether you pay the federal government in taxes, or 3x as much to a private health care insurance company, you still get the same care. (i.e. Medicare does not force you to change your primary physician.)

    October 27, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. John, Brooklyn, NY

    As a Democrat, I simply have no more ways of describing my disappointment with Joe Lieberman. The fact simply is...he doesn't care about the uninsured, he doesn't care that we lacked integrity in justifying a war in Iraq, he doesn't care that we have shocked and alienated the global community by creating the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp.

    Bottom line....Democrats care....but Joe Lieberman doesn't. Period.

    October 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. Josh

    This is what the dems get for not striping him of very bit of power. They should have seen this betryayer for who he is. He is sticking it to them. I hope they learn from it. He endorsed Macain for Pres, now this.

    They don't need him to caucus with them, he vannot be trusted.

    To filibuster your own party??? Whao !!!

    October 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. wp

    Well, the senator from the insurance industry will vote to protect that cartel, and he will do it with his characteristic self-righteous smugness even at the cost of sinking health care reform.
    He has a long history of moralistic criticism of others but shows no capacity for personal shame.

    October 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    jJoe Lieberman is described by one word, SLIME.

    October 27, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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