Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) is the target of a television ad campaign this week pressuring him to demand that the public insurance option be included in the final health care package, as liberal activists shift their attention to negotiations aimed at reconciling the House and Senate bills.The small $20,000 buy is set to run through the upcoming weekend on Wisconsin broadcast television in the Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay markets. Feingold, a strong supporter of the public insurance option, voted for the Senate bill last week even though it was dropped from the $871 billion package to secure the support of moderate Democrats.The 30-second spot features video clips of President Barack Obama explaining why he is a proponent of the public insurance option. Upon the conclusion of the ad, the following written recommendation flashes on the TV screen: Tell Russ Feingold: A bill without a public option is not change we can believe in.The ad is the product of Progressive Change Campaign Committee and is being run in concert with a robocall campaign that also focuses on Feingold. The Senator is up for re-election next November.The congratulations that Democrats are giving themselves in Washington, D.C. are not shared by voters across the country who overwhelmingly want a public option, PCCC spokesman Adam Green said in a prepared statement. Russ Feingold can be a hero at this historic moment by declaring that any final bill must have a public option to win his support. That would change the entire calculus in House-Senate negotiations.The Senate approved health care reform legislation on a party-line vote the morning of Christmas Eve. The bill must now be reconciled with a $1.2 trillion House package passed before Thanksgiving.The House legislation includes a public insurance option, and negotiations to resolve the differences between the two bills are set to begin in January, although informal staff negotiations have already begun.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.