Nelson, Landrieu Say Election Results Do Not Diminish Their Health Care Goals

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Today is a day for thumbsucking. After Republicans won gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and Democrats picked up two House seats, everyone in Washington is spinning away, hoping to change the conventional wisdom, and, perhaps politics on Capitol Hill. But will it work? Today, two of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate said yesterday’s election results won’t have any effect on their votes on health care.

“There are no lessons in there for me, other than a lesson that I already had and that is we need to be very cautious and careful on spending,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) . “[W]e need to redirect a lot of our attention right back to the basic economy and trying to figure out ways to help with the economic woes that we have, and that may mean that we have to readjust some of the other priorities around here.”

So this doesn’t have an effect on the limits you’d like to impose on reform, I asked.

“No,” he said.Along somewhat different lines, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) says reform is just too important and urgent to be engineered based on political winds. “I said when we started this that the President was right to move us in the direction of finding a way to turn this cost curve down,” Landrieu said when asked the same question by a different reporter. “We can not accomplish any of our domestic goals and objectives without doing this.”

Though she’s not ready to support the public option in the Senate bill, Landrieu says that, thanks to moderates, it’s much improved.

“The public option, because of the moderates, and because of what I’ve been helping to do and other moderates, has been shaped, in our view, 100 percent better than when it started out,” she said, adding,”it’s already shaped to be a public option that is supported by premiums,” before being whisked away into a vote.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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