Thursday, September 10, 2009

Progressive Caucus Keeps the Heat On For A Public Option

From the Plum Line

Speech or no speech, it looks like House liberals have no intention whatsoever of easing their pressure on Obama to keep a meaningful public option in the health care bill.

House progressive leaders just sent another letter to the President — which was sent over by a source — reiterating their demand for inclusion of the public option and insisting on a face to face meeting to discuss it.

“We were pleased that you explicitly expressed your support for a public option as a central piece of achieving true reform,” says the letter, which is signed by Dem Reps. Raul Grijalva and Lynn Woolsey, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We look forward to meeting with you regarding your support for defining the public option in any final health care reform bill and request that the meeting take place as soon as possible.”

The letter adds that “public opinion polls continue to show that a majority of Americans want the choice of a robust public plan and we stand in solidarity with them.”

“We look forward to meeting with you to discuss the importance of your continued support for a robust public option in the final bill,” the letter reiterates.

As TPM reported yesterday, Obama had originally promised a meeting to progressives, but mysteriously, it never materialized — hence the reiterated demand for a face-to-face.

While Obama did offer far more expansive support for the public option than expected, he hinted at the possible use of coops or a trigger, which are both unacceptable to liberals. Combine this letter with the fact that Tom Harkin, the chair of the Senate HELP committee, said today that a public option won’t be a dealbreaker, and you’ve really got a serious intra-Dem split in the works.

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