November 22nd, 2009
12:59 PM ET
8 years ago

Brown predicts key moderates ultimately will support reform

Sen. Brown said Sunday that he thinks key moderates in the Senate Democratic Caucus will decide they don't want to be on 'the wrong side of history.'

Sen. Brown said Sunday that he thinks key moderates in the Senate Democratic Caucus will decide they don't want to be on 'the wrong side of history.'

Washington (CNN) – A liberal Senate Democrat said Sunday that he thinks four key moderate members of the Senate Democratic Caucus will ultimately support Democratic efforts to pass a health care reform bill.

Composed of 58 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats, the Senate Democratic Caucus potentially has the 60 votes necessary to break a Republican filibuster of the health care reform bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. But Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana along with Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have all expressed substantive concerns about various provisions of the bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and now set for debate before the Senate. Lincoln, Landrieu, and Lieberman have also said they do not want a public health insurance option in the final bill while Nelson has raised concerns about coverage for abortion and other issues.

On Sunday’s State of the Union, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said he thought all four would ultimately back the Democratic bill.

“I think, in the end, I don’t want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it’s not going to be in [the final bill],” Brown told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

“But in the end,” Brown added, “I think that all four of our colleagues survey this – look at this bill in the end and say – I don’t think they want to be on the wrong side of history. I don’t think they want to go back and say, you know, on a procedural vote, I killed the most important bill of my political career. I don’t think they want to be there on that. So, I think in the end, we get them.”

Brown also expressed concern Sunday about the measures Majority Leader Reid reportedly took to win the votes of Landrieu and Nelson in order to begin debate on the bill. To obtain Landrieu’s support for a crucial vote Saturday night, Reid reportedly included a provision in the bill that could provide Louisiana with up to $300 million in additional Medicaid funding and to win Nelson’s allegiance, Reid reportedly removed a provision that would have repealed a long standing federal antitrust exemption granted to the insurance industry.

“Nobody likes these kinds of – any kinds of deals. I think anything that’s done [to get votes] needs to be in the best – in the best interests of those states and this country. I think those probably helped – if that in fact, really happened, I have no way of knowing if it did. I suppose that helped a lot of people in Louisiana that don’t have insurance, and so I think we move forward.

“We do what we need to do within ethical bounds. We do what we need to within practical bounds... keeping this bill – keeping the costs down and keeping this bill budget-neutral or better,” the Ohio Democrat also said Sunday.

New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen echoed Brown’s remarks on taking measures to hold Senate Democrats together and maintain the 60 votes needed to move the bill through the Senate.

“In the end, this is going to be a compromise,” Shaheen told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “It’s not going to be a perfect bill but it’s going to be a very important starting point.”

After emphasizing the need to bring health care costs under control and improve outcomes relative to the amount of health care dollars spent, Shaheen said, “we’ve got to change the way we do things. That’s what this legislation is about.”

Filed under: Health care • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    The majority of Americans want meaningful health care reform with

    – a robust public option (creating real choice for the consumer)

    – elimination of pre-existing conditions exclusions (because workers should have the freedom to change jobs and not have to worry about losing their health care coverage)

    – no opt-out for the states (because we all know – based on their recent behavior – the Republican governors will opt out for political reasons, regardless of the pain and suffering they will inflict on the citizens of their states).

    If these reasons are good enough to vote for the bill, then the political reality of putting Party Before Country – and the price they will pay – should motivate these senators to do the right thing and support the bill.

    November 22, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. cocopial

    Democrats in congress now has my vote. The show grit to the Party-of-No. How could they talk about what the American people want? They do not understand the majority of Americans. They had 8 years with Bush in office and did not once mention health care reform. Clinton left a surplus now they want to complain about deficit. what hypocrits. The media has not held them accountable on this and continue to give them a free ride. The same accountability the media did not hold the Bush admin during Iraq War. That is because CNN continues to give people like John King airtime and not some one like Anderson Cooper who is a much better reporter.

    November 22, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. charlie in Maine

    Hey tea partiers,

    If it is about the money where were you when George W thought it would be a great idea to spend 12 million dollars an hour occupying a country that never attacked us?

    I get why the health insurance companies are against Obamacare. After all wouldn't Federal Express or UPS do better if they could get rid of the Post Office and they could charge whatever they wanted to send a package.

    I get why the GOP leadership is against it considering how long they were out of power after they failed to stop Social Security or Medicare. But what I can't believe that any regular person would be against this.

    So who is paying you guys. The GOP leadership the insurance companies or both?

    Patriots??? Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave at the likes of you.

    November 22, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. JJ in NY

    Is sherrod brown such an idiot that he doesn't understand that the majority of American's don't want the public option, or is he just flat out lying about it ?

    November 22, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Keith in Austin

    I and masses of Americans will voice our contempt toward liberal Democrats in upcoming elections! Their utter gall in supporting a bill that their constituants oppose is appalling. What has become of elected politicians commitment to REPRESENT the people that voted them into office? The arrogance and thirst for power at the expense of the taxpayer will ultimately lead to their demise. America is not a dictatorship and Democrats will rue this day come 2010 and 2012.

    November 22, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Tyler

    Anyone who wants to get re-elected better vote for healthcare.....but since when do Republicans vote with the majority of the people.....they don't.

    November 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. American Expat

    While there are folks on both sides of the issue, there is one fact that is not in contention: the USA is the only industrialized, western democracy, that does not provide universal healthcare for its citizens. What a shame for this great country. Touting out the fact that we do have the most advanced and effective health care in the world, is not an acceptable excuse for keeping things as they are: i.e, excluding a significant portion of our society from access to that care. If we can waste billions on a war of choice, surely we can spend a like amount on our OWN CITIZENS?

    November 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    Now the repub tantrums will begin.
    What a joke – McDonnell "slams" Dems for being arrogant? He is insulted that he would be treated as he deserves. As a leader of the party of Arrogance it must be tough for him, let's hope it gets tougher. Maybe he'll stomp his feet and go home, take his little mob of cry-baby whiners and tea-baggers with him ..... we can only hope.

    November 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. trigger

    "to win Nelson’s allegiance, Reid reportedly removed a provision that would have repealed a long standing federal antitrust exemption granted to the insurance industry."

    I hope that's not the case. That really makes me angry!! That's like one of most important pieces to this legislation!

    November 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I'd like to ask the Republicans why they stood behind George W. Bush's when he used religion to spend billions of dollars to declare war in Iraq and why they haven't mention their religion when it comes to healthcare for all Americans but complain about the cost. Something is very wrong with the Republicans and what they base their religion on.

    November 22, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Buckeye

    Brown is a political hack and always has been. If he really wanted health care reform he'd support his fellow Buckeye, Dennis Kucinich, and push for single-payer. All is nothing but corporate welfare.

    November 22, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. ib

    The ones that vote for total gov. controll of our health system should be voted out. I don't care what party they belong to they should go. This bill is out of controll spending and will hurt senior citizens if the medicare cuts stay in it. Vote them out please.

    November 22, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. annie s

    I sincerely hope the Senator is correct. Despite the "I-can-yell-louder-than-you" conservative loonies and the obstructionist Republican fear mongering, the majority of the American people, when asked in simple non threatening language, back the public option. It simply makes sense. If we expect the for-profit insurers to stop denying and rationing care and to rein in their outrageous premium pricing and price hikes, we must offer them competition.

    November 22, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Matt

    I hope this is true, but Lieberman is a very difficult man to reason with at times. I hope he makes the right decision and votes to pass this bill.

    November 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Dcook140

    Sherrod Brown is among the most liberal members of the Senate. His views do not in any way reflect the overall opinion of mainstream America. Why not invite Bernie Sanders or Barbra Boxer on your show to find out what they think. Or, why not ask them exactly how the proposed legislation will "cut costs". Or why the CBO figure included only 6 years of the bills spending with 10 years of increased taxes. Or, if the bill doesn't begin delivering benefits till Jan 2014, why it needs to be passed in the next 3 weeks.

    Finally, I am a Californian. Where is my "additional Medicare funding" like Ben Nelson got??? My state is as blue as it gets and in huge debt. We can't afford any more Medicare spending to "save the healthcare system"

    November 22, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Joe in Vegas

    I really hope they are able to pass this bill, it will be so good for our country and EVERYONE will benefit.

    Once this bill is passed, those noisy little town-hall-screamers, who have no idea what they are kicking and screaming about, can go and cry in their tea.

    November 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Ray Fisher

    Something must be done because the stress alone is killing no telling how many. They should at least offer Medicare to everyone for a price!!!

    November 22, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Perusing-through


    2008 was the year the American middle-class rolled the dice and made an historic CHANGE when selecting a Black man name Barack Hussein Obama to bring the CHANGES that Republicans failed to provide the previous 8-years.
    (1.) – Healthcare Reform,
    (2.) – Successfully bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a close,
    (3.) – Economic disaster recovery and to stop the bleeding of jobs,
    (4.) – Represent the American middle-class.
    (5.) – Fix national immigration

    To ignore the cries of those that put you in office in 2006 and 2008; is to get booted out in 2010 and 2012.

    November 22, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |