Liberals to Pelosi: Take Our Concerns Seriously

Posted August 4, 2009 at 12:52pm

Updated: 6:28 p.m.Leading House liberals on Tuesday fired off a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) complaining that she isn’t taking their concerns with health care reform seriously.Last Friday, Pelosi predicted that liberal lawmakers would ultimately support a health care compromise that doesn’t necessarily include their priorities. Pelosi suggested the Congressional Progressive Caucus members would come aboard because the issue is too important to them.“Are you asking me, Are the progressives going to take down universal, quality, affordable health care for all Americans?’ I don’t think so,— Pelosi told reporters with a laugh.Her comments sparked the ire of Progressive Caucus leaders Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who reminded Pelosi that scores of liberals will vote against any health care bill that lacks a strong public insurance option to compete with private insurers.The Progressives Caucus leaders called Pelosi’s comments “most concerning— given that 60 of liberal members last week voiced opposition to a deal struck between House leaders and conservative Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee. That deal weakened the public insurance option and reduced subsidies. “We want to assure you that our continued support is contingent on a robust public plan,— they argued in the letter. “The final bill brought to the House floor must include these provisions or we will oppose the bill.—Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said the Progressive Caucus continues to play a major role in shaping health care legislation.”It is clear from the story that the Speaker’s reaction was in response to the notion that progressives would reject universal, quality, affordable health care for all. Progressives, including the Speaker, have long supported that goal,” Elshami said.