With reports swirling that Democrats agreed to ditch the public option and the the Medicare expansion in order to get the votes needed to pass a health care bill, Sen. Roland Burris took to the Senate floor.
Burris, a single-payer advocate and strong government plan backer, is one of a handful of Senate liberals who Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would need to win over to pass a scaled back bill.
Depending on how you look at them, Burris’ remarks could either be viewed as him preparing to cave in, or standing his ground.
He started his remarks with a history of past compromises that were required to create programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“Our most optimistic ideas must often be tempered with a pragmatic reality,” he acknowleged.
Burris said, ““Let us pass this health care legislation, but let us also do it right. Let’s not pass something just to pass something.”
Then he used a Ghandi quote that suggested some compromises went too far. “All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals,” he said, quoting Ghandi. “Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender.”
While saying he had few details about the compromise being discussed, he said, “I do have deep reservations, deep concerns about what I’ve heard up to this point.”
“I am committed to voting for a bill that achieves the goals of a public option, competition, cost savings and accountability,” he explained. “I will not be able to vote for lesser legislation that ignores these fundamentals. I will continue to fight every day to strengthen this legislation until it’s final moments on this floor.”
He wrapped up his remarks by saying, “My colleagues may have forged a compromise bill that can achieve the 60 votes that will be needed for its passage, but until this bill addresses costs, competition, and accountability in a meaningful way, it will not win my vote.”