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Rep. Sutton Commits on Pub Option

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I'm in Congresswoman Betty Sutton's home town in Ohio and just spoke with her as she got ready to march in a Labor Day parade. She's got a convertible red thunderbird (new one) full of bubble gum and 20 staffers in Re-Elect Sutton t-shirts to throw the gum to parade watchers (Mardi Gras Ohio style).

Mary Nichols Rhodes of Progressive Democrats of America introduced me to Sutton. I gave her my book "Daybreak." One of her staffers took a photo of the two of us with the congresswoman holding the book up. Then I asked her if she would vote No on any healthcare bill that did not have a strong immediate public option.

At first she tried to fudge it by saying "I think a robust public option is essential...." I asked "Is that a yes?" Then she said "I have told the leadership that the bill must include a robust public option..." I asked "Or you'll vote no?" And she said "yes, yes," and looked at me, and she understood perfectly that she was making a commitment. I'd had to ask three times before she did. But she did. Mary is my witness.

Then I asked why she had sponsored HR 676 for national single-payer in the last congress but not in this congress. She claimed that she could do more in committee if she was not a sponsor of that bill. So, there you have her to all appearances lying to me in the next breath after having made the commitment on a public option. (Unless someone can explain how she could do more in committee by not being a sponsor of a good bill.) So, take it for what it's worth. She made the commitment.

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She also committed to voting yes on the Weiner amendment, which took no prompting at all, and she openly admitted (rather adamantly) that it wouldn't pass. But when I tried to get her to take any sort of action to support keeping the Kucinich amendment in the bill she demurred, saying - rather mysteriously - that she didn't think that amendment was as important as a lot of people think. That sounds like not important at all, since most people have never heard of it and not a single congress member other than Kucinich has spoken up for it. (I also asked Rep. Tim Ryan's district counsel yesterday to ask him to speak up in support -- we'll see. This counsel is actually running for state office and there is a state single-payer bill in the Ohio legislature, which he supports.)

As I tried to get to why she'd voted for the war supplemental in June, Sutton had to run as the parade was beginning.


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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)

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