Since the details of a looming public option compromise have begun to leak out, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has reiterated his opposition to a triggered public option--which is reportedly part of a new health care agreement. I asked him today whether he still intends to filibuster, even if the Congressional Budget Office says it's unlikely to be filled. He drew a line in the sand.
"I've told them that I can't support a trigger--no, actually, to be more explicit: If they say that it's unlikely to be [pulled] then it's unnecessary," Lieberman said. "It's an irritant. And I keep saying to my colleagues: the underlying bill, that I would say 60 of us in the caucus support, that is, the parts that we support in the underlying bill, are so full of progress--let's get that done, and stop trying to squeeze in things that some of us, respectfully, just won't accept."
The trigger being considered would be pulled, according to a Senate aide briefed on the compromise, if private health insurers, managed by the federal government, do not offer nation-wide non-profit plans starting in 2014. If pulled, it would create a national public option. The measure was added to the agreement at the last moment at the insistence of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). But it may still prove an obstacle to passage of the health care bill.