| Staying true to his comments from yesterday, Joe Lieberman is now officially working to block health care reform in this Congress.
Today, Lieberman joined Ben Nelson and 4 other Senators in a letter sent to Senate leadership asking for a delay in the process - once again spitting in his good friend Chris Dodd's face, a mere 48 hours after Dodd's HELP bill with a public option was voted out of committee.
A bipartisan group of centrist and conservative senators sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican leaders on Friday urging delay in consideration of health care reform.
The letter, obtained by the Huffington Post, was drafted by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and is also signed by Democratic Reps. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.). Independent Joe Lieberman (Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, signed on, as did Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins -- moderates heavily courted by President Obama.
The organized effort to slow down the process is a blow to the reform effort. Obama has pushed hard for a final vote before the August recess, arguing that delaying until September could slow momentum and risk missing a historic opportunity.
(Read the full letter here - PDF.)
Never mind that Joe Lieberman has had more than 15 years to think about how to get health care reform done since the last time he helped kill it. He still needs "additional time."
It's 1993-94 all over again.
Update: Yes, it's 1993-94 all over again:
"I believe a lot of Democrats who had previously voted for President Reagan and President Bush voted for President Clinton because they really felt he was a different kind of Democrat," said Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who is a vice-chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council....
"In the first four months of the Government, there has been some disappointment both on a policy ground and a personnel ground," Mr. Lieberman said....
The Democratic moderates point to a long list of signals they feel send a message of overwhelming liberalism to voters: a budget that favors raising taxes over cutting spending; a Cabinet dominated by liberal Washington insiders; a fondness for ambitious and expensive programs like the proposal to overhaul health care...
-- "'New Democrats' Say Clinton Has Veered Left and Left Them," By Michael Kelly, New York Times, Sunday, May 23, 1993
After months of posturing, Congress is trying to come to grips with health care reform. But with only about two weeks left before the July 4 recess, the Clinton administration and supporters of universal health care in Congress must move quickly. Although the search for consensus is going badly, it must not fail....
Conservative Democrats, such as Connecticut's Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, are becoming equivocating artists. Mr. Lieberman is not being helpful to the case of health care by saying reform may not pass this fall.
-- "Health Reform Needs Resuscitation," Editorial, Hartford Courant, Jun 18, 1994
Pinning down Connecticut's Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman on health care is like trying to hold quicksilver in your hands.
Mr. Lieberman has said he is not fully behind President Clinton's proposal or Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell's alternative or any of the bills that have come from various Senate committees. He's said little about what he is for....
Mr. Lieberman acknowledges that he has studied the health care issue for months if not years and has had briefings from all sides. By now, he should have a clear position.
-- "Sen. Lieberman, Please Stand Up," Editorial, Hartford Courant, August 10, 1994
Mr. Lieberman has also attracted support as a result of his strong stance against the President's health-care plan. According to the National Library on Money and Politics, a nonpartisan research group in Washington advocating campaign financing reform, he garnered $128,400 from health and insurance political action committees in 1993, the eighth highest total in the Senate.
-- "6 Years After Squeaker, Lieberman's Star Rises," By Jonathan Rabinovitz, New York Times, Tuesday, November 8, 1994