Washington, D.C. (WTNH) - With a key vote in the U.S. Senate scheduled for tomorrow nighton national health care reform, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman is oneof the key senators to watch.
The independent Lieberman is part of the Democratic Party caucusthat needs every vote to win passage.
As his entrance with Maine Senator Susan Collins into hiscommittee hearing on the Fort Hood Shootings showed on Thursday,Joe Lieberman is a media magnet in Washington.
Now he walks nearly alone among his colleagues in theDemocratic caucus, squarely in the middle of the seminal issue ofthe first year of the Obama presidency - health care - because hisis the vote that could cause it to crash.
Mark Davis met with Lieberman in Washington, D.C. to talkabout it at a small room off the senate floor called the Senator'sHideaway.
"Nothing can change my vote and I'd say that's both good andbad, which is to say that there's a lot in what Senator Reid hasput forth that I have good, positive first reactions to because I'mfor health care reform, but, unfortunately the bad part is that thebill still adds on some new government responsibilities that Idon't think we can afford and I'm afraid will end up costing thetax payers a lot of money, like the so called public option, sothat part, I'm still against," Lieberman said.
The Majority Leader in the Senate, Senator Harry Reid, hassaid he is confident of achieving the necessary votes.
:Harry Reid knows that he has 60 votes, I believe, to move toopen the debate on the health care bill and I'm going to vote toopen the debate because I want to debate it and I want us to passsomething but there's more than me who won't vote to end afillibuster on this bill, by more than me I mean, more than me inthe Senate Democratic Caucus, I'm not the only one who will not, atthis point, vote to end debate on this bill," Lieberman said.
Lieberman had just come from a luncheon caucus with Reiddevoted entirely to discussion of the new version of the healthcare bill.
"When Senator Reid says he's confident he'll have 60 votes, Ithink he knows and has pretty much said to some of us that he'llhave to change the bill as he presented it," Lieberman said.
Mark Davis asked: If you do end up being the vote that holds allthis up, causes this to crash, is it possible you lose yourchairmanship?
"I don't know and I'm not thinking that way," Liebermanresponded. "I have a confidence, Mark, that in the end I'm notgoing to be the only person refusing to let this bill out of theSenate if it still has a government run insurance company. Again,I'm not talking about Republicans I'm talking about members of theDemocratic Caucus."
Mark Davis then asked Lieberman if he enjoyed bucking theDemocratic leadership.
"No, I don't enjoy it, matter of fact, I hope and literally praythat this can be worked out so that we can have a good stronghealth care/health insurance reform bill without a public optionthat I can vote for enthusiastically and I will," Liebermansaid.
Mark Davis: What about 2012, are you done with the DemocraticParty in Connecticut? The Quinnipiac University Poll, I think mostpeople said you were closer to being a Republican, most people saidthey thought you ought to run as an Independent.
"Well, I'm keeping all my options open about how I run in 2012.Until something otherwise is said I assume, and I hope every will,that I am running for re-election in 2012," Lieberman said.
That's about as close to saying he's planning to run again in2012 as anyone has heard so far...but as to a party? Apparentlythat's to be determined.
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