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Sen. Harkin: “We had the 60 votes for the public option”

August 6, 2013

Now he tells us?

 There I was, innocently rummaging through an unsolicited complimentary copy of  The Progressive Populist, subtitled a journal from America’s Heartland.

“Harkin Letting Loose as Retirement Nears” was the headline of a story by Ari Cullen on  page 20.

Here are the key excerpts without snips noted:

“We had 60 votes for the public option and we let it slip away,” said retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). He was being interviewed by a local journalist Ari Cullen recently in Storm Lake, Iowa. “You know, I’m not very happy with President Obama right now,” Harkin told him.

Harkin, 73,  has announced his retirement after serving 28 years in the U.S. Senate, following his 1975-85 stint in the House. “It sounds as if Harkin’s tongue is loosening as he nears retirement,” Cullen noted.

A quick goggle search of “tom Harkin public option” turned up dozens, if not hundreds of stories from 2009 and 2010 of Harkin announcing the Senate just didn’t have the votes necessary to make a public option part of the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m telling  you, we had 60 votes for the public option . We had a majority in the House. (Speaker) Pelosi was ready to go. Never again in your lifetime or mine will we have a super-majority in the Senate, a strong majority in the House, and control of the White House.”

[at the time the American people were being told by Democrati leaders and the MSM that only a tiny minority, the wreckers, the destructive and unrealistic  “lunatic fringe of the left wing” supported a public option–remember that? I do.–DD]

Harkin urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to  bring the public option to the floor for a vote. “At the direction of the White House, Reid demurred to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and his Ranking Member, Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) to sit on the public option.”

So through direct intervention of the Obama White House, the public option was killed. Max Baucus is widely known as “the Senator from K Street” for his habitual deference to an endless string of corporate, finance, and insurance lobbyists, or as Chris Weigant put it, “his legendary gluttony at the lobbyists’ trough.”  Republican Senator Grassley vigorously opposed the entire ACA and, like Sarah Palin, spread lying nonsense about non-existent “death panels.” Baucus is currently again the news for demanding “50 years of secrecy” for proposed tax reforms. These are the key figures the Obama White House ordered the Senate Democratic leaders to defer to. In effect, to let Baucus and Grassley decide the fate of a public option for the American people.

What is that line from an old Bob Dylan song—“I threw it all away….”

Will that become history’s summary of the Obama Presidency?


[Ari Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times where his article originally appeared. Chris Weigant’s article “50 Years of Secrecy, Courtesy of Max Baucus “appeared in the Huffington Post 7/31/13]__________________________________________________________________ 


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