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On January 12th Mike Stark from firedoglake caught up with Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D) in Washington for a short interview on the prospects for the Health Care Reform bill:

Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D): ….Two components of, of the bill that I do have appreciation for that I would other, otherwise find complete disdain in, uh, embracing. One, is that we have, uh, a, uh, a stop or a halt to the, uh, pre-existing conditions at, you know, we get rid of that. And the secondly, we get thirty million more Americans able to, uh, secure health care.

Mike Stark: Something.

Representative Cleaver: Yes, something, something better than they, than they had previously.

Mike Stark: I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, so before you go, right now the bill’s a non starter with you?

Representative Cleaver: I don’t think that, I don’t think this bill is gonna go anywhere and, uh [crosstalk]…

Mike Stark: What has to be corrected in the senate bill in order to get the progressives on board over there?

Representative Cleaver: Yes. I don’t think there’s any question. And, uh…

Mike Stark: Specifically, what has to change [crosstalk] in that bill?

Representative Cleaver: Well, we, uh, uh, the Congressional Black Caucus, of which I’m a member, Vice President, just sent a letter to the President, uh, restating our commitment to the, to the public option. I’m actually a, um, recovering, although I’m, my, recovery is not, is not complete, uh, single payer, uh, member. So, uh, I’ve already compromised, uh, by moving to the public option. So, uh, I think, uh, in spite of the fact that the news media is proclaiming this bill, uh, approved I, I, I’m not in a, uh, position, based on everybody I’ve spoken with,  to, uh, agree with them.

Mike Stark: You think it’s in trouble right now?

Representative Cleaver: I, I do think it’s in trouble.

Mike Stark: Uh, before I let you go…

Representative Cleaver: But I think ultimately we, we, we’re gonna get something. I think what’s, what, what comes out may, may be disapproved and then in thirty days we may bring something else, uh, forth because we’ve never been this close before. Uh, but it may take a no vote, um, in order to get people back on board.

Mike Stark: Before I let you go, uh, usually politicians get nothing but, you know, vituperative bile and you’re always screamed at and all the rest. A lot of my readers and a lot of our, the people that follow what we’re doing, uh, wanted me to expressly thank you folks for standing up and doing the right thing in fighting for decent health care. So, to all the people on the progressive side that are concerned about keeping the Democratic majority and getting good health care bill passed, well, thanks.

Representative Cleaver: Well, that’s reason to, uh, think that we can enter, uh, two thousand ten optimistically. Thanks.

Mike Stark: Take care….

That’s how you keep fighting the good fight.