Progressive Caucus Whip Diane Watson Will “Hold Her Nose” and Vote for Senate Bill

Diane Watson Congressional portrait 2007The whip operation of Diane Watson (CA-33), chief Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was AWOL this summer when it came to lining up members of the progressive caucus to vote for only a public plan.

FDL activists started calling her offices yesterday, and again we find out Rep. Watson is off the progressive reservation.

Caucus whip Diane Watson’s office tells her constituents that she’s “willing to hold her nose and vote for a bill that had an individual mandate but no public option,” according to a FDL activist call report. This, while Raul Grijalva, leader of the progressive caucus, is being called a “monster” for standing up against passing the Senate’s insurance industry giveaway bill as-is.

The caller from Los Angeles reports:

I got to speak with Congresswoman Watson’s staffer Charles Stewart. He was very gracious and took quite a bit of time to deal with my arguments, but found them unpersuasive. He said she would be willing to hold her nose and vote for a bill that had an individual mandate but no public option and hope that things can be somehow patched up in conference.

This summer, Diane Watson pledged to vote against any plan without a public option along with more than 60 other Members of Congress. To thank her, 1,659 progressive activists donated $4,486 to Diane Watson. And yet Diane Watson is openly breaking this pledge, betraying progressive activists, and shirking her responsibilities to the progressive caucus.

It’s not an isolated incident. Dave, another caller from Los Angeles, reports that Watson’s office told him she hoped the bill would be fixed in conference – yet another soon to be broken promise to progressives.

Bullshit, plain and simple. Her aide said Watson believes this is the closest we’ll ever come to passing a healthcare bill, and actually thinks it can be amended after passed! I asked if she is aware there will be a number who will profit off of this bill? She ignored my question. I asked to be put on the record – as one who does NOT have health insurance – as being OPPOSED to the bill because it does not include a public option.

Watson herself told FDL News’ David Dayen in November that “we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” That same day, her office told a constituent calling her office to call Joe Lieberman instead.

Call the chief whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Diane Watson, and tell her passing the Senate bill as-is isn’t acceptable: DC: 202-225-7084, LA 323-965-1422. You can also post to her Facebook page.

If you haven’t yet, please sign our emergency petition. Tell the House Progressives to stand firm: keep your word and vote “no” on the Senate bill. We’ll deliver the petition early this week.

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