Hoyer Fires Veiled Shot at Lieberman

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Tuesday lobbed a veiled barb at Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and his demands in order to secure his vote for a health care reform bill in the Senate.

"Too often, it appears that the psychology in the Senate is the psychology of one," said Hoyer when asked about Lieberman, without mentioning the senator by name.

Lieberman caucuses with Senate Democrats. But he's been a thorn in the side of the Senate Democratic leadership on the health care reform bill. It’s believed Lieberman’s vote is essential to approving a health care reform package. Over the weekend, Lieberman threatened to filibuster the legislation unless the Senate dialed back two key provisions. The first was eliminating a government-run “public option” where persons can purchase insurance from Washington. The second  was a plan to allow persons as young as 55 to buy their way into the Medicare program. Senate Democrats appeared to strip both provisions out of the legislation last night in an effort to court Lieberman.

“(Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid doesn’t have the votes for a public option,” lamented Hoyer. “In a world of alternatives, you focus on what you can get.”

The House of Representatives approved its version of the health care reform bill in November. But Hoyer cautioned against assumptions that the House would just adopt the Senate’s draft of the bill.

“That’s not going to happen,” Hoyer said. “There are significant differences.

Senate leaders hope to approve the legislation by Christmas and potentially work out a compromise with the House after the first of the year.