Peter DeFazio is back from the break and boy is he pissed. Mike Stark caught up with him:
DEFAZIO: I think the Senate bill is a disaster. I mean, anybody who’s watching this noticed that insurance industry stocks has gone up since the Senate bill passed, because It gives them a lot of new customers and no meaningful controls. They took out my language stripping the industry of the anti-trust immunity. They established meaningless, spineless weak state exchanges instead of a national exchange.
They want to tax union workers and others who have good health insurance. Those are all total non-startes with me and I believe with other members of the caucus, and I think, you know, I mean, we can play the same game as the Senate. “You know gee, we’ve got to have a bill Joe Lieberman likes”…. well they’ve only got two votes to spare in the House. so I think this is going to be a tougher negotiation than they think.
STARK And when you say it’s a non-starter with a lot of members of the caucus, what that translates to is, not vote?
DEFAZIO I have been in Oregon, I’ve only talked to a few people on the phone. But there are a number of people upset with the direction this is going, and we don’t feel like we need to be jammed by the Administration who is just in a hurry to get something on the checklist for the State of the Union. We’ve got to get it right, and if that means standing up to the Senate, then we’ve going to do that. I hope.
STARK: Congressman I don’t think I’d be doing my job if I didn’t convey the thanks and appreciation from the progressive community that’s really concerned about retaining a Democratic majority and see disaster on the horizon…
DEFAZIO: Well meaningful Democratic majority that does things Democrats should be doing, it would be good.
The House bill had only two Democratic votes to spare in order to pass, though it’s rumored that Pelosi had others in her pocket she could have delivered if need be. But it sounds like many are not happy having the House of Lords declare them irrelevant. Both DeFazio and Robert Wexler were “yeas” in the 220-215 vote that got the health care bill through the House. Wexler has resigned and won’t be replaced until April.
DeFazio has said he will vote against any bill that does not have a public option, and signed the July 30 letter to Nancy Pelosi saying he “simply cannot vote” for a bill that “at minimum” does not have a public plan. But he also signed a letter saying he’d vote against the IMF funding in the war supplemental and flipped on that when his vote was needed, so how far he’ll go on this one remains to be seen.
You can find DeFazio’s contact information and his voting history on health care on his FDL Profile Page.