Lamont: Lieberman "Dithering" On Health Care
One of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) most strident critics accused him of "dithering" on health care reform after the Independent stated that he would consider sustaining a filibuster of the legislation.
Ned Lamont, who beat Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary only to lose to the senator in the general election (after Lieberman defected from the party), accused his one-time opponent of posturing for attention in making his filibuster threat.
"I think he wanted to rush to war now he wants to dither on health care," Lamont told the Huffington Post. "You don't have to posture. You just have to sit down and talk to your fellow Democrats and move this thing along."
"To me, a filibuster is just a way to avoid the issue," Lamont added. "Rather than do a press release he should be sitting down with his fellow senators."
Lamont would go on to insist that some of Lieberman's major objections to the health care bill were bunk. People in Connecticut, he said, support a public option for insurance coverage in part because it could expand coverage but also because it would result in lower costs -- something that he appreciated , as a business leader. Lamont also noted that by adding an opt-out clause for states to the public plan, Lieberman's concerns that this would resemble a new entitlement program were essentially moot.
"What he is saying is 'I don't want Connecticut to have the opportunity to even opt in,'" he said.
As for getting Lieberman back in the fold, Lamont didn't have a solution. He encouraged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to make reform more palatable to moderate Republicans so as to make Lieberman's opposition irrelevant. He then conceded that such a scenario remains unlikely if the package also includes a public plan.
"I would make the case to everyone on the floor... that this is just a choice, it is an option, it is competitive," Lamont said. "It gives us a shot and let's us play into a bigger pool.... If Harry Reid makes that case, I think he will be able to get some folks behind it that will surprise you."