(Washington DC) - Members of the Congressional TriCaucus - comprised of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus - along with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which together make up nearly 120 Members of the House and Senate, today held a press conference to reiterate their call that any Health Care reform must include a public health plan option.
The TriCaucus insists that it won't vote for any legislation that doesn't include a strong public option for health insurance. Basically, then, nothing will pass the House without a public option included. Without the 120, there are only 131 Democratic votes. They need 218 votes to pass the House. The only way to get there would be to badly compromise the bill in order to pick up 87 Republicans -- almost half of them.* But then, with a GOP-leaning bill, they'd surely lose more Democrats.
What this means is the White House and the Senate, if they're serious about healthcare reform, have to jettison any talk of compromise and embrace the public option. Or let the thing die -- which I doubt they'll do.
Thank goodness there are some members of Congress who have a spine -- or who at least know how to read a goddamn poll.
(*I calculated the votes based on the current House seats. 256 Democrats minus 5 non-voting members, and 178 Republicans. Total House seats: 434.)