Bipartisanship Works Great (For Killing the Public Option)

By Channing Kennedy Sep 29, 2009

"I voted bipartisanly! LOL" Earlier this morning, the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Sen. Max "Bipartisanship Over Public Good" Baucus (D-MT), voted down Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) relatively robust public option amendment to their version of the health care bill. No Republicans voted for it, and neither did Baucus himself. The Congressional Budget Office caluculated that Rockefeller’s public option would have cut $50 billion off the bill’s cost over ten years. And just this afternoon, the committee voted down Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) more modest public option amendment. From TPMDC:

The Senate Finance Committee can’t even endorse a modest public option like Chuck Schumer’s. Citing his belief that a public option can’t pass on the Senate floor "at this time," Finance chairman Max Baucus joined two Democrats and all Republicans in voting down the amendment, which failed 10 to 13. Joining Baucus on the Democrats’ side of the dais were Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and, by proxy, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) who wasn’t present for the vote. There will be no public option in the Finance Committee’s health care bill.

There’s a couple of chances for the public option — some public option — to make an appearance still, either in committee with the Senate HELP version of the bill, or in committee with the House’s bill. But this is a serious blow, make no mistake. And by the way, the guy in the photo at the top? That’s Max Baucus. He’s the guy, the Democrat, who believed the Republicans when they said they wanted to negotiate in good faith on health care, even though they voted against it, as a unified group, at every single turn. I’ll let you decide whom to hold accountable for the public option’s sinking: the rats, or the captain who let the rats take a turn steering? (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images North America)