Mike Lux says that the White House has "become obsessed with Olympia Snowe on health care, and are willing to do pretty much whatever she demands in order to get her on board." This apparently includes her "triggers":
Senator Snowe is writing language into an amendment that is literally a Catch-22. The legislative language says that a public option will be set up in a state in which health care is not affordable to 95% of the state’s residents, but it defines affordability as after the new tax credits that are written into the bill to make health care affordable. Not only would this be an incredibly weak public option (doing it in one state will mean it can’t get the market power to compete with the big insurers), but it would be a public option that is written by its definition to never be triggered. This is a trigger specifically, intentionally designed to kill the public option.
But Rahm Emanuel has always wanted triggers, has been talking with Snowe about them, and it’s more likely she’s a delivery mechanism to jam in something they already want rather than the architect. And they’re trying to draft the veal pen into covering for them:
Some senior White House staffers are now beginning to try to sell this trigger to progressive groups as the compromise version of a public option, saying the White House doesn’t want to have a floor fight in the Senate, and that they can always fix it in conference committee. That way they can pick up Snowe, satisfy that desperate urge for being officially bipartisan (even though Snowe can’t bring a single other Republican with her), and not have to worry about procedural hassles in the Senate. But by finally winning Snowe over, the White House is risking something far more politically dangerous: an ugly fight within the Democratic Party, further erosion of Obama’s standing with his base, the specter of more primary fights.
Rahm told liberal interest groups in the veal pen to stop running ads against Blue Dogs on health care, and they complied. If you’re a member of a progressive group or union, or a contributor to a think tank or action fund, contact them and let them know that you would like them to release a statement rejecting triggers.
Because Mike is right – this is a transparent attempt to kill the public option, and no progressive organization should be helping them.