Sen. Brown: I’m ‘Done’ With Compromising on Public Option

Posted December 4, 2009 at 4:16pm

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the leading proponents of the public insurance option, warned Friday evening that he is “done— compromising with moderates and will not accept any further changes to the provision.

Brown’s unhappiness with the progress of talks on the public option could signal a new complication for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as he looks to corral 60 votes for a final health care reform bill.

Brown said that he and other liberal Democrats such as Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) who support the public option have already made numerous concessions to Senate moderates, who he accused of trying to hijack the legislative effort. “We’ve compromised four times on the public option. … We’re done. Why should four people decide they don’t like the public option when 50-some of us do?— Brown said, adding that, “I’m just not willing to see this bill move closer to the insurance industry.—

A number of Senate centrists, including Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), have said they will not vote for a final health care bill that includes a public insurance option. Reid has asked Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) to help explore alternatives to the public option that would be acceptable to moderates and secure 60 votes. But Brown rejected that approach, warning, “They may not have the votes if we sell out to the insurance industry.—

Brown also said the White House has not been as engaged in the reform debate as it should be. “I want to see more from the White House. I think the president need to weigh in. That would make it a lot easier.—