TPMDC’s update on the biggest legislative initiatives on the Hill:
- Health Care: House progressives responded to their Blue Dog counterparts today, sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pasted below the fold) stating their strong opposition to measures that will weaken health reform efforts, including a “trigger” that would delay, or possibly eliminate, the public health insurance option.
- War Spending: House Republicans oppose the supplemental war spending bill because, as written, it will increase the spending capacity of the International Monetary Fund. Some liberal Democrats oppose it, too, because it also contains a provision that would allow the Obama administration to suppress any “photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.” Taken together, that means the bill might not pass–which leaves Democratic leaders in a bit of a pickle. Either they somehow nix the IMF funding provision, or they nix the FOIA photograph exception, or they nudge their progressive members into voting for it anyhow. Looks like they’ve picked the latter option.
Late update: Jeffrey Young of The Hill has obtained what appears to be a draft (or a draft of a draft) the HELP committee’s as yet unreleased health reform legislation (PDF). If only it were written in parseable English.LETTER TO SPEAKER PELOSI:
June 5, 2009
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. House of Representatives
Dear Madame Speaker,
President Obama and you have laid out an ambitious goal to enact health care reform this Congress. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) stands united in the call to provide high quality, affordability, and accessibility in healthcare choices for all Americans. As you are aware, the overwhelming majority of CPC Members would prefer a single-payer approach. If a single-payer plan is not enacted, we agree with President Obama that there must be a robust public health insurance option like Medicare offered alongside the private plans.
As you and the respective Chairs continue to draft health care legislation, the CPC submits the attached principles that must be included to ensure a public option the CPC can support.
The CPC believes the public plan should provide a guarantee of coverage, affordable, high-quality and accessible healthcare, and lower costs – regardless of income, health status, race, employment, or gender. We strongly oppose any conditions or triggers undermining and limiting the availability of the public option.
We look forward to our continued involvement in the process.
RaÃºl M. Grijalva Lynn Woolsey
Cc: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Majority Whip James Clyburn
House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson
House Democratic Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra
The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, Chair Committee of Ways and Means
The Honorable Henry Waxman, Chair Committee on Energy and Commerce
The Honorable George Miller, Chair Committee on Education and Labor