By Phillip Stucky
Potential Democratic presidential challengers have yet to back Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care bill, a move that has many progressives worried about their stance in the party.
“It’s a value proposition: Either you value the lives of the American people or you don’t,” progressive organization Our Revolution president Nina Turner said about support for the measure that will be introduced when Congress comes back in session in September.
Although Turner asserted that an individual candidate’s stance on the measure isn’t a “litmus test” in order to run for office, her organization made it clear that it expects any Democratic candidate to support the measure.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris is the only high-profile lawmaker to openly approve the plan. However, other Democrats and progressives alike have been slow to support the measure.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe haven’t spoken publicly about the proposed measure, and other high-profile Democrats like Sens. Chris Murphy, Sherrod Brown, and Kirsten Gillibrand have yet to announce their support as well.
Some, like Sen. Cory Booker seemed to believe that pursuing such a far-left idea in a Republican-controlled Congress was unlikely to actually pass. “I don’t know how we get it done in this environment,” a spokeswoman for Booker told The Hill.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren slammed moderates in August, calling the progressive wing the “heart and soul” of the Democratic Party.
“The Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill,” she said in a speech. “It is not going to happen. We are not the gate-crashers of today’s Democratic Party. We are not a wing of today’s Democratic Party. We are the heart and soul of today’s Democratic Party.”
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