Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Should Dems Give the Money Back If They Don’t Keep Their Public Option Pledge?

By FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher FDL

65 Democrats pledged to vote "no" on any bill without a public option. Should they return the $430,000 they got in donations as thanks if they break it?

Last year, $430,000 was raised on Act Blue for 65 members of the House who said they would not vote for a health care bill without a public option.

There are many ways that health care reform can move forward, and much depends on the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate race on Tuesday. But Chris Van Hollen, head of the DCCC, now says that reconciliation is a possibility — whereby the Senate only needs to muster 51 votes for the budgetary aspects of the bill (such as a public option).

It’s curious that Van Hollen, head of the DCCC, is saying this. It’s his job to get Democrats elected in 2010, and the corporatism that has taken hold of the bill in order to get “60 votes” in the Senate is clearly causing huge problems for Democrats in tough districts — something we saw in the Snyder and Driehaus polling done by FDL/SurveyUSA.

The only way the Senate bill can be jammed through the House is if those 65 members who said they would vote against any bill without a public option violate their pledge. And since the 60 vote Senate bar has now apparently been lowered to 51, that would be something they did because they wanted to, and not because they had to in order to pass health care at all.

So, we’d like to know what you think. Should those 65 members who received $430,000 in donations because they pledged to vote against any bill that did not have a public option keep the money if they break that pledge, or should they give it back?