Here’s some detail from last night’s meeting between President Obama and the “Quad Caucus,” a combination of leaders from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
I asked Adam Sarvana, press secretary for Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, if the subject of his wanting an amendment on Medicare + 5% rates in the public option came up in the meeting. Actually, it didn’t. Most of the discussion, Sarvana said, was about House members’ opposition to public option compromises like triggers and the opt-out. The Congressional Progressive Caucus remains on the record as 100% opposed to the trigger AND the opt-out clause, which has not really been prominent in the debate. Everyone assumes that whatever passes the Senate on the public option will represent what must appear in the final bill, but House progressives are, for the moment, not backing down in their opposition. But clearly, the White House wanted to feel out that opposition and see if they could potentially break it down.
Rep. Grijalva remains committed to putting up an amendment on Medicare + 5% rates on the floor of the House, to get everyone on the public record about it. That amendment would have to have the consent of the House leadership and the Rules Committee, however, which appears unlikely.
The key question is whether or not Grijalva would then vote against the bill coming to the floor if he did not get a vote on his amendment. This is the tactic being used by Bart Stupak over changing the language around funding for abortion; he’s threatening to block the bill from reaching the floor. If you combine Stupak’s “regressive block” with the progressive block, you could actually derail the bill, or at least hold it up. On that question, Sarvana, the spokesman, said Rep. Grijalva “hasn’t decided yet” if he would hold up the bill if his amendment on Medicare + 5% rates didn’t make it to the floor.