Barney Frank has released a letter in response to inquiries from constituents as to whether he would take the pledge to oppose any bill that does not have a strong public option (PDF):
I am a strong supporter of single payer, and I do reluctantly accept a full public option as the best we can do. So I am strongly committed to a public option and I will not vote for a bill that does not include a nationwide, genuine public plan. But I do not agree that it has to be available on day one. It is conceivable that to get the votes to get this done, we might have to accept, for example, a six month delay on a public plan going forward. I am not talking now about a trigger, which I greatly oppose, but simply a time delay for reasons that might be put forward either legitimately but politically.
I responded to Frank’s spokesman, Harry Gural, and clarified:
From day one" doesn’t mean the plan gets implemented on day one, it means that the option is available from the first day that it is implemented, even if that’s a few years down the road — as opposed to being available when a trigger kicks in, or when there is sufficient demand for a state co-op (such that Ohio might make one available at a different time than Kansas).
Harry said that Rep. Frank "agrees with the ‘day one’ language as stated in your paragraph." I asked if he would vote against a bill that had triggers but wasn’t able to get clarification beyond the fact that he "opposes triggers."
But from the language in the letter, I take it to read that he does not think that triggers are part of a "nationwide, genuine public plan," and would therefore vote against any bill that had them. So I’m counting Barney in the "pledge" column — fourteen down, twenty-six to go.
If you’d like to call Barney’s office and firm up the trigger language, feel free. But while you’re at it, please give him lots of props for doing this. Barney is in leadership, and this is a big deal: (202) 225-5931 DC, (508) 999-6462 MA.
We’re also adding him to our Health Care Heroes page.