In a rather lengthy telephone interview with MSNBC earlier today, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley said he’ll vote against his own bipartisan health care bill if it doesn’t win the support of more Republicans.
In case you don’t have the patience to wade through the whole interview, Chuck Todd asked Grassley, “[a]re you willing to be just one of three or four Republicans while 36 or 37 including the Senate Republican leadership…all being against it?”
Grassley responded, “Absolutely not. And I told the President that a week ago Thursday and I told [committee chairman] Max Baucus that over a period of three or four months.”
As a followup, “If you have–if it’s something you believe…if you think this is a good deal, and overall because of the politics of the situation you can’t get more Republicans on board, you’re going to go ahead and vote against it.”
“It isn’t a good deal if I can’t sell my product to more Republicans.”
So Max Baucus has insisted on building a bill that can pass his committee with more than one Republican. For that he’s allowed Grassley, along with Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), to significantly water down the legislation. But Grassley says, publicly, that if the rest of the GOP is against the final product, he’ll turn around and vote against it. Which seems quite likely. It seems to me, that if nominal GOP support is the name of the game, there are other Republicans who will actually vote for the bill they insist on weakening.
Late update: More on Grassley’s appearance from Rachel Slajda.