December 5, 2009

Sherrod Brown explains to David Shuster why he signed decided to co-sponsor Tom Coburn and David Vitter's amendment which would require members of Congress to enroll in whatever version of the public option ends up being passed in the health care bill.

Brown: Yeah, you often find out about amendments going on on the Senate floor and if my staff and I like one of the amendments we'll call an office and say, Republican or Democrat, I'd like to co-sponsor. We do that as a matter of course it happens across party lines all the time, hundreds of times a day. We did that with Sen. Coburn, nine times we said we wanted to co-sponsor--usually it takes once and they say yes--I've always accepted that. So has everybody I know in the Senate. Nine times we asked to co-sponsor and their office either just said we'll get back to you or ignored our calls and our emails because it was all a sham.

They don't, they clearly don't like the public option. They were making fun of it. Their whole game is to delay and deceive and to play political games. And when they offer an amendment saying sign up for the public option to force--tell members of Congress they have to join the public option--I think I should. I think we all should but they don't evenn like it themselves. And so it's just a little partisan game they're playing, and this is too serious for them to play those kind of games.

From Salon's War Room--Coburn, Vitter plan to ridicule public option backfires:

Now, as the Senate's debate over its version of reform legislation kicks into gear, two Republicans -- Sens. Tom Coburn and David Vitter -- have picked up that theme and are running with it. The two authored an amendment they want attached to the bill; it would require members of Congress to enroll in whatever version of the public option the final legislation creates, if it includes one.

Both Coburn and Vitter are vehement opponents of the public option, and they're hoping to prove themselves right by showing that no senator who's in his or her right mind would want their healthcare covered by it. They've gotten a surprise, though: Genuine support for their amendment from someone on the other side of the aisle -- and a proponent of the public option, at that -- Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

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Senators Franken, Dodd, and Mikulski also joined Sen. Brown in co-sponsoring the amendment. Here's Sen. Franken weighing in on the Senate floor.

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