Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate Finance Committee when it comes to health care reform, and today, he went on the record in opposition to the proposal offered by chairman Max Baucus.
“There is no way in present form I will vote for it,” Rockefeller told reporters on a conference call. “Therefore, I will not vote for it unless it changes during the amendment process by vast amounts.”
Rockefeller has a number of objections to the proposal including, but not limited, to the fact that it lacks a public option.
The math on the Senate Finance Committee (13 Democrats, 10 Republicans) is such that Rockefeller could vote no from the left, and all Republicans–including Olympia Snowe–could vote no from the right, and the bill could still pass. So this may not be an idle threat. However, numerous aides have told me that moving the process forward is the top priority for Democratic leaders at this point, and that it’s extremely unlikely that Democratic opposition will stall the bill on the committee, so any Democratic opposition would likely be limited to Rockefeller. Nonetheless, this is an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on.