Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) encouraged Democratic leadership in the Senate to wipe health care legislation clean of provisions held dear by progressives (and the majority of Democrats) in order to get reform passed on a bipartisan basis.
Appearing on "Face the Nation" this Sunday, the Connecticut independent said he thought the chamber could pass legislation this week if it just took "a few things out" first. Those things: a public option for insurance coverage (which is already gone), a provision that would expand Medicare to those as young as 55, and a new national insurance program that would help finance long-term care (known as the CLASS Act.)
"We've got to stop adding to the bill," said Lieberman. "We have to start subtracting some controversial things. I think the only way to get this done before Christmas is to bring in some Republicans who are open minded on this like [Sen.] Olympia Snowe..."
How does one do that, asked host Bob Schieffer?
"You have to take out the Medicare buy-in," said Lieberman. "You have to forget about the public option. You probably have to take out the CLASS Act, which was a whole new entitlement program that will, in future years, put us further into deficit. And you have to adopt some of the cost containment provisions.... If you did that, you'd have an enormous accomplishment. Thirty million Americans who can't afford insurance today would get it. Insurance companies would be more aggressively regulated and costs would be bent down. It's time to get reasonable."
It's noteworthy that Lieberman rarely asks Republicans to cede legislative ground. Indeed, implicit in his remarks is the idea that Democrats haven't offered up enough compromise to earn GOP votes -- a notion that will likely be greeted with rolling eyes on Capitol Hill.