Ted Kennedy's seat, in liberal Massachusetts, was lost in a special election to an anti-health-care-reform Republican last week. With the loss, the Democrats' tenuous "filibuster-proof" Senate majority is gone.
The reason for the loss is easy to pinpoint: the lack of enthusiasm and turn-out among Democrats and Independents who want this Congress and President Obama to be bolder.
The loss of Ted Kennedy's Senate seat sends a clear message that the Senate health care bill does not go far enough. The public clearly wants a public option but the Democratic caucus, faced with the certainty of a Republican filibuster, is left with no other way of improving the bill than using "reconciliation" -- a special process that prohibits filibusters and would allow a public option to pass the Senate with only 51 votes.Click here to automatically sign our petition telling President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid that the Senate must use reconciliation to pass a better health care bill with a strong public option.
Since this campaign launched last week in the wake of the loss of Ted Kennedy's seat, hundreds of thousands of people have joined this effort. Their strong support paved the way for dozens of members of Congress to sign on to a letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid just yesterday urging him to pass a public option via reconciliation.
This momentum has come from a coalition effort among different progressive groups. CREDO Action is working with our friends at Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to demand that Congress be bolder. They commissioned a poll of Massachusetts voters taken immediately after the loss of Ted Kennedy's seat and the results confirm what we already knew -- that voters want a public option, expect substantive improvements in the health care system and are frustrated with the slow pace of change.
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The poll showed Democrats and Independents don't think the current Senate health care bill goes far enough, and more than 80% of them want a public option. If a public option were in the Senate bill, these voters would have delivered a victory for the Democrats and saved Ted Kennedy's seat. It's as simple as that.
Click here to automatically sign our petition telling President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid that the Senate must use reconciliation to pass a better health care bill with a strong public option.
Some in Congress are naively trying to spin that Congress needs to move to the so-called "center," scrap health care reform and move slower. Nothing could be more wrong.
This is an opportunity for our elected leaders to be bold and win real health care reform. Support them in their effort to do this by signing this petition. Just click here to automatically add your name.
Thank you for working to secure real health care reform.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager