Weiner Drops Push to Force Vote on ‘Single Payer’ Plan

Posted November 6, 2009 at 11:40am

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) is backing off trying to force a vote on a wholesale restructuring of the health care system that would replace employer-based insurance with government-run coverage.Weiner had extracted a guarantee from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that she would allow a floor vote on the “single payer— model if the New York Democrat held off offering it in the Energy and Commerce Committee markup over the summer. But Weiner said leadership convinced him Thursday night to abandon the effort because the vote would have jammed a handful of moderates already struggling with whether to support the broader overhaul.“There were a sufficient number of moderate guys for whom this was creating more complications in an already complicated whipping operation, and I didn’t want to do that,— Weiner said. “It just became clear to me if there was even a 5 percent chance this would screw up final passage, it wasn’t worth it.—On top of forcing Democrats on record on an issue that divides the party base, a separate vote on the proposal would have created new headaches for leaders trying to hold off demands for stand-alone votes on other controversial topics, including immigration and abortion. Pelosi in a statement praised Weiner’s decision as a “correct one, and helps advance the passage of important health reforms by this Congress— and hailed him as a “tireless and effective advocate for progress on health care.—Weiner made clear he is postponing, not abandoning, the fight for the liberal dream of a government-run system. “The commitment still exists,— he said.