Where Dems stand on Sanders's single-payer bill

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden announces all-female White House communications team The 'diploma divide' in American politics Bernie Sanders should opt for a government-created vaccine from China or Russia MORE (I-Vt.) is set to release his long-awaited “Medicare for all” bill Wednesday afternoon with the backing of a number of prominent Democrats.

Sanders has championed single-payer healthcare for decades, but the idea is catching fire among Democrats following his strong run for the White House in 2016.

Several Democrats who could run for the White House in 2020 — a category that includes Sanders — are expected to appear at the bill’s unveiling Wednesday afternoon. The bill garnered 16 co-sponsors hours before it was set to be introduced.


Still, not everyone is on board with the Sanders plan. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for instance, said Tuesday she is focused on protecting ObamaCare. 

Here’s where Senate Democrats stand so far:

Supports (16)

Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Next Congress expected to have record diversity Infrastructure, energy investments urgently needed to create U.S. jobs MORE (Wis.): Baldwin, who is up for reelection in 2018, will be a co-sponsor of the legislation. “With this reform, we would simplify a complicated system for families and reduce administrative costs for businesses. It would expand coverage to all the uninsured, make health care more affordable for working, middle-class families and reduce growing prescription drug costs for taxpayers,” Baldwin wrote in an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Richard Blumenthal (Conn.):
On Tuesday afternoon, Blumenthal tweeted: “Proud to announce my support for single-payer #MedicareForAll led by @SenSanders. Let's make healthcare a right, not a luxury.”

Cory BookerCory BookerDangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs MORE (N.J.): Booker will also sign on as a co-sponsor, and is another Democrat seen as possible 2020 contender. "This is something that’s got to happen. ObamaCare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won’t rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care," Booker told the NJTV News Monday. 

Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (Minn.): Franken called Sanders's proposal "a starting point" and "an important marker" toward the goal of universal coverage, while calling for "bipartisan policies that improve our current health care system" in the short term.


Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' MORE (N.Y.): Seen as possible 2020 presidential contender, Gillibrand announced Tuesday that she would co-sponsor Sanders’s bill. “Health care is a right, not a privilege. This week, I'll proudly join Senator @BernieSanders to co-sponsor Medicare for All,” she tweeted.

Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden announces all-female White House communications team Biden to nominate Neera Tanden, Cecilia Rouse to economic team: WSJ Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently MORE (Calif): Harris will also co-sponsor the legislation, she announced in a town hall in late August. "I intend to co-sponsor the 'Medicare for all' bill because it’s just the right thing to do," said Harris, another Democrat seen as having White House ambitions. "It's not just about what is morally and ethically right, it also makes sense just from a fiscal standpoint.”

Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary MORE (N.M.): Heinrich announced Tuesday that he would co-sponsor the bill, saying, “It is time to recognize that health care is a human right and I believe that the best way to make that a reality in our nation is to build on what we all know works."

Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (Hawaii): She announced her support Tuesday, tweeting “I support universal, affordable, accessible and quality health care as a right, not a privilege. A single payer, Medicare for All system is a strong articulation of this principle, which is why I support this bill.” 

Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience Durbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee MORE (Vt.): Sanders’s colleague from Vermont is also a co-sponsor of the legislation.


Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (Mass.): Markey announced last week that he would cosponsor the bill. On Tuesday, he tweeted: “#Healthcare is a right, not a privilege!”

Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySupreme Court declines to hear case challenging unlimited super PAC fundraising Trump supporters demonstrate across the country following Biden-Harris win Merkley wins reelection in Oregon Senate race MORE (Ore.): Merkley, the only senator to endorse Sanders during the 2016 primary, will also co-sponsor the legislation, he announced Monday. “Right now, our health care system is incredibly complex, fragmented, and stressful. It would be terrific to have a simple, seamless system where, solely by virtue of living in America, you know that you will get the care you need." 

Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzTech CEOs clash with lawmakers in contentious hearing Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination MORE (Hawaii): Schatz is also a cosponsor of the bill.

Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE (N.H.): Shaheen announced her support on Wednesday, tweeting: "I've signed-on to the Medicare For All Act introduced by @SenSanders."

Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline MORE (N.M.): In a statement released Tuesday, Udall announced he would co-sponsor the legislation. “I believe that health care is a human right, and that all New Mexicans — and all Americans — should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick."

Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (Mass.): Also considered a potential 2020 presidential candidate, Warren said last week that she would co-sponsor the legislation. "I believe it’s time to take a step back and ask: what is the best way to deliver high quality, low cost health care to all Americans?" Warren said in a statement.

Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (R.I.): Whitehouse said in a statement this week that he would co-sponsor the legislation. “We have come a long way under Obamacare, but I still hear from Rhode Island families and small business owners that health care costs are too high. I am committed to bringing down those costs while improving the quality of care for Rhode Islanders,” he said.

Undecided (5)

Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (Del.): The Delaware senator said the single-payer idea deserves a hearing. "Right now we're trying to focus on the main thing. And ... the main thing is to stabilize the exchanges. Do that now. The idea of 'Medicare for all,' the proposal from Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamIs Trump headed to another campaign or to a courtroom? Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE and Bill CassidyBill CassidyMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience MORE, these are ideas, big ideas ... those are the kinds of ideas that should have a full-blown hearing."

Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyScranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Grassley tests positive for coronavirus Casey says he isn't thinking about Pennsylvania gubernatorial bid in 2022 MORE Jr. (Pa.): When asked his thoughts on the bill, Casey said he hasn't yet seen it and would like hearings on the proposal. He said a "giant step forward" in increasing coverage — that could be implemented now — would be adding a public option to compete alongside private plans. Casey is up for reelection next year.


Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (W.Va.): Manchin told The Hill he thinks the idea of single-payer care should be explored, but wouldn't specifically commit to the Sanders bill. "Let it go through the committee, let it go through the process. I don't just know enough about it. I'm not signing on to a piece of legislation that I don't have any idea what it's going to do to the economy, to the access and to people's care."

Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Protect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package MORE (N.Y.): The Senate minority leader says, "there are are many different bills out there. There are many good ones." At his biweekly press conference on Tuesday, Schumer declined to say if he would be signing onto Sanders's proposal. He noted that other Democratic senators have put forth health care bills: "We want to move the issue forward. We're looking at all of these."

Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Democratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers MORE (Md.): He said he needs to examine the legislation once it's introduced. "I support making sure that we have a system of universal, affordable health care. There's going to be other proposals introduced. I've always supported moving in the direction of 'Medicare for all,' I've just got to look at the details," he told reporters Tuesday

Not endorsing (4)

Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (Va.): Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Groups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE’s former running mate said he would “rather open it up to more choices, not fewer.” Kaine told reporters that he favors adding a public option to the mix of health care insurance policies Americans can choose. He offered support for the introduction of the bill, saying “Look, we have to have all the ideas on the table, so we can flesh them out.”

Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats must turn around Utah police arrest man driving 130 mph claiming he was going to kill former Missouri senator McCaskill congratulates Hawley on birth of daughter MORE (Mo.): McCaskill, who is considered vulnerable in next year’s election, told reporters, “I think that particular proposal is premature.” Additionally, she said she supports letting people between the ages of 55 and 65 buy into Medicare and other public option ideas.

Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Lobbying world Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  MORE (Mich.): Stabenow, who is up for reelection in 2018, told reporters she supports letting those 55 and older buy into Medicare.


Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (Mont.): Tester told reporters he won’t be supporting Sanders’s legislation. “I support fixing what we got because I think that’s more likely to happen.” Tester is up for reelection in 2018 in what’s likely to be a tight race.

– Sylvan Lane contributed.

Updated: Sept. 13 at 12:20 p.m.