Democrats took on a pair of Republican senators Friday, signing on to an amendment that would make lawmakers join the public option.
On Thursday, thinking Democratic senators would balk at the idea, Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced the gimmick health-care amendment.
"The idea, broad-brush, is that whatever government option is in the bill, every senator and every representative should be enrolled in it," Vitter told The Hill. "No other possibilities, no other choices."
"It's called leadership," Coburn said. "If it's good enough for everybody else, we ought to be leading by example."
But Democrats called their bluff, and the Republicans wouldn't allow it. When Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) tried to become a co-sponsor of the amendment, he got the cold shoulder.
"They've not said yes to allow me to be a co-sponsor," Brown told The Hill on Thursday. "I've called their office four times. I'm proud of the public option, I think it would be great and we ought to join it and show the country how good it is. I think my interest may be more genuine than theirs, but I'd like to work with them if they'll let me. If they just want to score partisan points, I still want to work with them."
So Brown, joined by Sens. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.), forced his way onto the amendment with a unanimous consent vote.