By Mike Soraghan - 09/17/09 09:05 PM EDT
Blue Dog Democrats have joined the wrestling match within the party
about what President Barack Obama was saying about his healthcare plan in a
joint session of Congress last week.
The conservative Democratic Coalition sent a letter to the White House on Wednesday, a week after the speech, praising the flexibility he is showing on the contentious issue of whether to include a public option in Congress's healthcare overhaul.
Obama stated his support in the speech for a public option, a government-run plan that he says would reduce costs by introducing more choice in the healthcare market. But he also indicated he was open to "co-ops," which are popular among Senate Democrats, and leaving it as a fallback option, a position supported by the Blue Dogs.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Blue Dogs' rival within the Democratic Caucus, wrote a letter last week that came to the opposite conclusion about Obama's speech.
"We were pleased that you explicitly expressed your support for a public option as a central piece of achieving true reform," said the letter, signed by the co-chairmen of the Progressive Caucus. The letter asked for a meeting with the president to define the public option. They have not yet had a meeting.