Updated: 8:01 p.m.The Congressional Progressive Caucus has fired Bill Goold, its executive director, leaving the House Democrats liberal wing without a staff-level chief as they head into a critical legislative fight on health care.Goolds termination was effective immediately. The reasons behind the dismissal are not yet clear. Hes no longer with the caucus, CPC spokesman Carl Rauscher said. Its a personnel matter and we cant really discuss personnel matters. He said the search to replace him is already under way."Because of the confidentiality that has to be extended to Bill and to the members of the caucus, it's difficult, if not impossible to talk about it," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a co-chairman of the progressives. "The situation could've called for better timing, but the situation was such that something had to be done immediately." Goold joined the coalition in May 2005 as its first senior-level staffer. He was charged with honing the groups message and marshaling the clout of its membership, which, now at 77, is the largest in the House.Goold had a long history in Democratic politics before joining the coalition. He served as an aide to Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and then-Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). He also spent two years as a senior policy adviser at the AFL-CIO.The Progressives are in the midst of a fight to protect a government-run insurance option in the health care overhaul. The approach has broad support in the House, though fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats are raising serious concerns about it, and it has become a stumbling block in the Senate. Liberals have struggled at times to wield the full force of their numbers, but Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the group, recently made clear that liberals will band together to sink any health care package that does not include a public health insurance option.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.