I’ve been watching reports come in from activists throughout the day, and it appears that Rep. Michael Capuano’s office is telling constituents that he will oppose a final health care bill that has triggers or opt-outs. Capuano is currently running in the Democratic primary for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.
Three different constituents have reported to us that Capuano will “definitely” oppose any bill with triggers or opt-outs. From the reports:
His clerk told me immediately that the Rep. opposes both of them, without question. I said I do hope he will be our next Senator from MA, the best possible replacement for our dear Senator Kennedy. Form submission: “Definitely opposed to triggers; Definitely opposed to opt-outs.”
Asked questions about Capuano‘s position, got answers. Form submission: “Definitely opposed to triggers; Definitely opposed to opt-outs.”
His Aid reassured me Capuano does not support triggers or op-outs. Form submission: “Definitely opposed to triggers; Definitely opposed to opt-outs.”
I called Rep. Capuano’s DC and Cambridge offices to confirm but have not received a call back today. I’ll update with more information as it becomes available. UPDATE (11/13/09, 12:15pm): His office called me to confirm: Rep. Michael Capuano will definitely vote against a health care bill that has triggers or state opt-outs.
On the flip side, there’s a disappointing anecdote from one activist who called Rep. Diane Watson’s office (CA-33). The person on the phone in Watson’s office apparently isn’t too happy, and directed her constituent to call other Members of Congress or Joe Lieberman.
I spoke with someone, or I should say he spoke to me, for half an hour, explaining that so many calls are wasted saying the same things to the congresswoman over and over, when the calls should be going to the blue dogs and particularly to Senator Joe Lieberman’s office. He is unable to answer the above questions, because a) there may never be an opportunity to vote one way or the other, and b) to commit to a position that would kill any joint reform bill would be foolish. He apologized as he knew this was not what I wanted to hear, but it was impossible to say now, when there is no bill yet to discuss. He said she needs to be realistic, and that changes can be made after a bill is passed in the Senate.
Well, not exactly. We know that triggers are designed to never let a public option see the light of day, and opt-outs will deny citizens of conservative states the right to purchase the public insurance plan. It’s pretty simple. It sounds like Rep. Watson still hasn’t learned how to hold the line for a public option since her summer whipping disaster.