TPMDC Sunday Roundup

Ben Nelson: If Bill Isn’t Improved, I Won’t Vote to Get It Off The Floor
Appearing on This Week, Sen. Ben Nelson, made clear that his vote last night to proceed with debate on the health bill was contingent on being able to amend the bill in the next stages of the process — and that he has a continuing list of issues with the bill, including abortion and other concerns: “Even if that — even if that was perfected, where I could support that particular provision, if the public option is wrong, if the CLASS act is still in it, if — if there are a whole host of other items that are the same as they are right now, I wouldn’t vote to get it off the floor.”

McCain: I Enjoyed Palin’s Book, Criticism of Campaign Aides ‘No Big Deal’
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the Associated Press that he enjoyed reading Sarah Palin’s book. “I enjoyed the book and she and I are dear friends. I talked to her on the phone yesterday. We got along fine,” said McCain, who downplayed the book’s harsh criticism of McCain’s presidential campaign aides: “In campaigns there’s always tension. Outside of combat, it’s the most tense situation. There’s always differences that arise, but it’s no big deal.”Lieberman: Nobody Thinks The Bill Can Pass As It Is
Appearing on Meet The Press, Sen. JOe Lieberman (I-CT) reiterated that he would filibuster the health care bill if it still contains a public option, and explained why he voted last to proceed with debate: “Well, I voted last night, as 59 others did, to go ahead with the debate because I, I want us to begin not only debating healthcare reform, but doing something about healthcare reform. But I don’t think anybody feels this bill, as Senator Reid put it down, though he made a lot of progress in blending bills together, I don’t think anybody thinks that this bill will pass as it is.”

McConnell Blasts ‘Arrogant Approach’ Of Dems
Appearing on State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted the Democratic leadership. “Well, we don’t often ignore the wishes of the American people. They are literally screaming — many of them — telling us, ‘Please don’t pass this. Don’t pass this bill,'” said McConnell. “If the majority is hell-bent on ignoring the wishes of the American people, they have 60 votes in the Senate. You would think that they might be able to do this, but I believe there are a number of Democratic senators who do care what the American people think and are not interested in this sort of arrogant approach that everybody — sort of ‘shut up and sit down, get out of the way, we know what’s best for you.'”

Alexander: McConnell Won’t ‘Roll In A Wheelbarrow With A Republican 2000-Page Bill
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that any Republican health care bill won’t be as long or as comprehensive as what the Democrats are attempting. “If you expect Mitch McConnell to roll in a wheelbarrow with a Republican 2,000-page bill, it’s not going to happen,” said Alexander. “But we do have proposals to let small businesses to pool their resources, to reduce junk lawsuits, to let people buy insurance across state lines. And I think most people would be much more comfortable with us biting off what we could chew instead of this arrogance of thinking we can fix the whole system all at once.”

Schumer: Dem Caucus ‘Comes Together For The Good Of The Nation’
Appearing on Face The Nation, Sen. Chuck Schumer sought to downplay the ongoing divisions in the Democratic caucus. “Well, look, we are a diverse caucus. And when we become 60 members, we get members from red states. But what we’ve shown is unity throughout. Every time there’s a major challenge, the caucus comes together for the good of the nation,” said Schumer, who also contrasted this with the Republican: “This has been debated for a long, long time. And now the time is to act. And, frankly, you know, there are a lot of people on the other side of the aisle who don’t want health care. They haven’t put together an alternative proposal that’s out there on the Web the way our proposal is.”

Dem Sen. Bennet: I Would Pass Health Care Even If It Cost Me My Job
Appearing on State Of The Union, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was asked this question by John King: “If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?” Bennet, who is up for election in 2010 after he was appointed to office earlier this year, replied simply: “Yes.”

Patrick Kennedy: Bishop Told Me Not To Receive Communion
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) told the Providence Journal that Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has instructed him not to receive Communion, and told priests in the Diocese not to give it to Kennedy, and that Tobin allegedly told him “that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official,” particularly citing Kennedy’s pro-choice position on abortion. The Diocese denied the story: “Bishop Tobin has never addressed matters relative to public officials receiving Holy Communion with pastors of the diocese.”