“Republicans are having this meeting and you need to let all of your clients know if they have someone there, that will be viewed as a hostile act’”
Posted by danishova on June 11, 2009
More Cram Down politics, Via Roll Call:
Top aides to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called a last-minute, pre-emptive strike on Wednesday with a group of prominent Democratic lobbyists, warning them to advise their clients not to attend a meeting with Senate Republicans set for Thursday.
Russell Sullivan, the top staffer on Finance, and Jon Selib, Baucus’ chief of staff, met with a bloc of more than 20 contract lobbyists, including several former Baucus aides.
“They said, ‘Republicans are having this meeting and you need to let all of your clients know if they have someone there, that will be viewed as a hostile act,’” said a Democratic lobbyist who attended the meeting.
“Going to the Republican meeting will say, ‘I’m interested in working with Republicans to stop health care reform,’” the lobbyist added.
Republican leaders have been meeting with health care stakeholders for months, with those sessions occurring “more frequently than once a month,” according to a senior Senate GOP aide.
The stated purpose of Thursday’s meeting, organized by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), is to discuss proposals for how to pay for health care reform.
But the underlying motivation for the get-together is to encourage health care lobbyists and stakeholders concerned about the Democrats’ health care reform plans to speak out publicly.
They must be silenced!
“They need to speak up,” one Senate Republican leadership aide said. “They need to help us help them.”
Thune said Democrats are using threats and intimidation to keep unhappy stakeholders silent.
But with Baucus’ office still warning dissenters that anyone who makes their opposition public could be permanently excluded from future negotiations, the groups representing businesses, health care providers, hospitals and similar stakeholders are still wavering on whether to voice their concerns publicly.
Visions of horse’s heads danced through the night…
1. Ezra Klein notes that the American Medical Association is backing off from original reports that it opposes the public health option for Obamacare, and wonders if their new position has a connection to Max Baucus’s game of “hardball”.
2. Ed Morrisey explains how “Government insurance will kill private insurance” here.
3. Morrisey reports on the Baucus intimidation tactics and thuggery coming from the office of Democratic Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) here