The Polis public-option letter and its supporters

Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis drafted a letter with fellow Democratic freshman Chellie Pingree, urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to revisit the Senate version of the legislation in order to add a public option and then pass the bill through the process known as reconciliation, where it would only take 51 votes. A Senate bill that includes a public health insurance option, according to Polis, could not fail to pass in the House. The proposal has sparked interest among constituents and among members of Congress. By the end of day Wednesday, when Polis sent the letter to Reid, 120 representatives had signed on in support. The letter and a list of supporters after the jump.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis

The Honorable Harry Reid
Office of the Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

As the Senate continues to work on health reform legislation, we strongly urge you to consider including a public option.

Here are the reasons for this request:

1) The public option is overwhelmingly popular.

A December New York Times poll shows that, despite the attacks of recent months, the American public supports the public option 59% to 29%. And a recent Research 2000 poll found 82% of people who supported President Obama in 2008 and Scott Brown for Senate last week also support the public option. Only 32% of this key constituency is in favor of the current Senate bill – with more saying it “doesn’t go far enough” rather than it “goes too far.”

Support for health care legislation started to fall as popular provisions like the public option were stripped out and affordability standards were watered down. The American people want us to fight for them and against special interests like the insurance industry, and it is our responsibility to show them that their voices are being heard.

2) The public option will save billions for taxpayers, speaking to the fiscally-responsible sensibilities of our constituents.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the public option will save taxpayers anywhere from $25 billion to $110 billion and will save billions more when private insurers compete to bring down premium costs. The stronger the public option, the more money it saves.

By including the public option, we can simultaneously reduce tax increases and the deficit. This is a common-sense way to temper the frustration of Americans who question whether Congress is spending their money wisely and fighting for the middle class.

3) There is strong support in the Senate for a popular public option.

It is very likely that the public option could have passed the Senate, if brought up under majority-vote “budget reconciliation” rules. While there were valid reasons stated for not using reconciliation before, especially given that some important provisions of health care reform wouldn’t qualify under the reconciliation rules, those reasons no longer exist. The public option would clearly qualify as budget-related under reconciliation, and with the majority support it has garnered in the Senate, it should be included in any healthcare reform legislation that moves under reconciliation.

As Democrats forge “the path forward” on health care, we believe that passing the public option through reconciliation should be part of that path. We urge you to favorably consider our request to include a public option in the reconciliation process.


Jared Polis, Member of Congress
Chellie Pingree, Member of Congress

The list of supporters so far, according to the Progressive Change Committee.

Name Status
Rep. Neil Abercrombie HI-01 Supporter
Rep. Gary Ackerman NY-05 Supporter
Rep. John Adler NJ-03 Unknown
Rep. Jason Altmire PA-04 Unknown
Rep. Robert Andrews NJ-01 Unknown
Rep. Michael Arcuri NY-24 Unknown
Rep. Joe Baca CA-43 Unknown
Rep. Brian Baird WA-03 Unknown
Rep. Tammy Baldwin WI-02 Supporter
Rep. John Barrow GA-12 Unknown
Rep. Melissa Bean IL-08 Unknown
Rep. Xavier Becerra CA-31 Unknown
Rep. Shelley Berkley NV-01 Unknown
Rep. Howard Berman CA-28 Supporter
Rep. Marion Berry AR-01 Unknown
Rep. Timothy Bishop NY-01 Unknown
Rep. Sanford Bishop GA-02 Unknown
Rep. Earl Blumenauer OR-03 Supporter
Rep. John Boccieri OH-16 Unknown
Rep. Dan Boren OK-02 Unknown
Rep. Leonard Boswell IA-03 Supporter
Rep. Rick Boucher VA-09 Unknown
Rep. Allen Boyd FL-02 Unknown
Rep. Robert Brady PA-01 Supporter
Rep. Bruce Braley IA-01 Unknown
Rep. Bobby Bright AL-02 Unknown
Rep. Corrine Brown FL-03 Supporter
Rep. G. Butterfield NC-01 Unknown
Rep. Lois Capps CA-23 Supporter
Rep. Michael Capuano MA-08 Supporter
Rep. Dennis Cardoza CA-18 Unknown
Rep. Russ Carnahan MO-03 Unknown
Rep. Christopher Carney PA-10 Unknown
Rep. Andre Carson IN-07 Supporter
Rep. Kathy Castor FL-11 Unknown
Rep. Ben Chandler KY-06 Unknown
Rep. Travis Childers MS-01 Unknown
Rep. Judy Chu CA-32 Supporter
Rep. Yvette Clarke NY-11 Supporter
Rep. William Clay MO-01 Supporter
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver MO-05 Supporter
Rep. James Clyburn SC-06 Unknown
Rep. Steve Cohen TN-09 Supporter
Rep. Gerry Connolly VA-11 Unknown
Rep. John Conyers MI-14 Supporter
Rep. Jim Cooper TN-05 Unknown
Rep. Jim Costa CA-20 Unknown
Rep. Jerry Costello IL-12 Unknown
Rep. Joe Courtney CT-02 Supporter
Rep. Joseph Crowley NY-07 Unknown
Rep. Henry Cuellar TX-28 Unknown
Rep. Elijah Cummings MD-07 Supporter
Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper PA-03 Unknown
Rep. Artur Davis AL-07 Unknown
Rep. Susan Davis CA-53 Supporter
Rep. Lincoln Davis TN-04 Unknown
Rep. Danny Davis IL-07 Supporter
Rep. Peter DeFazio OR-04 Supporter
Rep. Diana DeGette CO-01 Unknown
Rep. Bill Delahunt MA-10 Supporter
Rep. Rosa DeLauro CT-03 Unknown
Rep. Norman Dicks WA-06 Unknown
Rep. John Dingell MI-15 Unknown
Rep. Lloyd Doggett TX-25 Supporter
Rep. Joe Donnelly IN-02 Unknown
Rep. Michael Doyle PA-14 Supporter
Rep. Steve Driehaus OH-01 Unknown
Rep. Chet Edwards TX-17 Unknown
Rep. Donna Edwards MD-04 Supporter
Rep. Keith Ellison MN-05 Supporter
Rep. Brad Ellsworth IN-08 Unknown
Rep. Eliot Engel NY-17 Supporter
Rep. Anna Eshoo CA-14 Supporter
Rep. Bob Etheridge NC-02 Unknown
Rep. Sam Farr CA-17 Supporter
Rep. Chaka Fattah PA-02 Supporter
Rep. Bob Filner CA-51 Supporter
Rep. Bill Foster IL-14 Unknown
Rep. Barney Frank MA-04 Supporter
Rep. Marcia Fudge OH-11 Unknown
Rep. John Garamendi CA-10 Supporter
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords AZ-08 Unknown
Rep. Charles Gonzalez TX-20 Supporter
Rep. Bart Gordon TN-06 Unknown
Rep. Alan Grayson FL-08 Supporter
Rep. Al Green TX-09 Supporter
Rep. Gene Green TX-29 Supporter
Rep. Raul Grijalva AZ-07 Supporter
Rep. Luis Gutierrez IL-04 Supporter
Rep. John Hall NY-19 Supporter
Rep. Debbie Halvorson IL-11 Unknown
Rep. Phil Hare IL-17 Supporter
Rep. Jane Harman CA-36 Supporter
Rep. Alcee Hastings FL-23 Supporter
Rep. Martin Heinrich NM-01 Unknown
Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin SD-01 Unknown
Rep. Brian Higgins NY-27 Supporter
Rep. Baron Hill IN-09 Unknown
Rep. Jim Himes CT-04 Unknown
Rep. Maurice Hinchey NY-22 Supporter
Rep. Ruben Hinojosa TX-15 Unknown
Rep. Mazie Hirono HI-02 Supporter
Rep. Paul Hodes NH-02 Unknown
Rep. Tim Holden PA-17 Unknown
Rep. Rush Holt NJ-12 Supporter
Rep. Mike Honda CA-15 Supporter
Rep. Steny Hoyer MD-05 Unknown
Rep. Jay Inslee WA-01 Supporter
Rep. Steve Israel NY-02 Unknown
Rep. Jesse Jackson IL-02 Supporter
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee TX-18 Supporter
Rep. Hank Johnson GA-04 Supporter
Rep. Eddie Johnson TX-30 Unknown
Rep. Steve Kagen WI-08 Unknown
Rep. Paul Kanjorski PA-11 Unknown
Rep. Marcy Kaptur OH-09 Supporter
Rep. Patrick Kennedy RI-01 Supporter
Rep. Dale Kildee MI-05 Supporter
Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick MI-13 Supporter
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15 Supporter
Rep. Ron Kind WI-03 Unknown
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick AZ-01 Unknown
Rep. Larry Kissell NC-08 Unknown
Rep. Ron Klein FL-22 Unknown
Rep. Suzanne Kosmas FL-24 Unknown
Rep. Frank Kratovil MD-01 Unknown
Rep. Dennis Kucinich OH-10 Unknown
Rep. James Langevin RI-02 Supporter
Rep. Rick Larsen WA-02 Supporter
Rep. John Larson CT-01 Unknown
Rep. Barbara Lee CA-09 Supporter
Rep. Sandy Levin MI-12 Unknown
Rep. John Lewis GA-05 Supporter
Rep. Dan Lipinski IL-03 Unknown
Rep. Dave Loebsack IA-02 Unknown
Rep. Zoe Lofgren CA-16 Supporter
Rep. Nita Lowey NY-18 Supporter
Rep. Ben Lujan NM-03 Supporter
Rep. Stephen Lynch MA-09 Unknown
Rep. Dan Maffei NY-25 Supporter
Rep. Carolyn Maloney NY-14 Supporter
Rep. Betsy Markey CO-04 Unknown
Rep. Ed Markey MA-07 Supporter
Rep. Jim Marshall GA-08 Unknown
Rep. Eric Massa NY-29 Unknown
Rep. James Matheson UT-02 Unknown
Rep. Doris Matsui CA-05 Supporter
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy NY-04 Unknown
Rep. Betty McCollum MN-04 Unknown
Rep. Jim McDermott WA-07 Supporter
Rep. Jim McGovern MA-03 Supporter
Rep. Mike McIntyre NC-07 Unknown
Rep. Michael McMahon NY-13 Unknown
Rep. Jerry McNerney CA-11 Unknown
Rep. Kendrick Meek FL-17 Unknown
Rep. Gregory Meeks NY-06 Supporter
Rep. Charlie Melancon LA-03 Unknown
Rep. Mike Michaud ME-02 Supporter
Rep. George Miller CA-07 Supporter
Rep. Brad Miller NC-13 Supporter
Rep. Walter Minnick ID-01 Unknown
Rep. Harry Mitchell AZ-05 Unknown
Rep. Alan Mollohan WV-01 Unknown
Rep. Dennis Moore KS-03 Unknown
Rep. Gwen Moore WI-04 Supporter
Rep. James Moran VA-08 Supporter
Rep. Scott Murphy NY-20 Supporter
Rep. Chris Murphy CT-05 Supporter
Rep. Patrick Murphy PA-08 Supporter
Rep. John Murtha PA-12 Unknown
Rep. Jerrold Nadler NY-08 Supporter
Rep. Grace Napolitano CA-38 Supporter
Rep. Richard Neal MA-02 Unknown
Rep. Glenn Nye VA-02 Unknown
Rep. Jim Oberstar MN-08 Supporter
Rep. David Obey WI-07 Unknown
Rep. John Olver MA-01 Supporter
Rep. Solomon Ortiz TX-27 Unknown
Rep. Bill Owens NY-23 Unknown
Rep. Frank Pallone NJ-06 Unknown
Rep. Bill Pascrell NJ-08 Unknown
Rep. Ed Pastor AZ-04 Unknown
Rep. Donald Payne NJ-10 Supporter
Rep. Nancy Pelosi CA-08 Unknown
Rep. Ed Perlmutter CO-07 Unknown
Rep. Tom Perriello VA-05 Supporter
Rep. Gary Peters MI-09 Unknown
Rep. Collin Peterson MN-07 Unknown
Rep. Chellie Pingree ME-01 Supporter
Rep. Jared Polis CO-02 Supporter
Rep. Earl Pomeroy ND-01 Unknown
Rep. David Price NC-04 Supporter
Rep. Mike Quigley IL-05 Unknown
Rep. Nick Rahall WV-03 Unknown
Rep. Charles Rangel NY-15 Unknown
Rep. Silvestre Reyes TX-16 Unknown
Rep. Laura Richardson CA-37 Supporter
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez TX-23 Unknown
Rep. Mike Ross AR-04 Unknown
Rep. Steve Rothman NJ-09 Supporter
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard CA-34 Supporter
Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger MD-02 Unknown
Rep. Bobby Rush IL-01 Unknown
Rep. Tim Ryan OH-17 Unknown
Rep. John Salazar CO-03 Unknown
Rep. Linda Sanchez CA-39 Supporter
Rep. Loretta Sanchez CA-47 Unknown
Rep. John Sarbanes MD-03 Supporter
Rep. Janice Schakowsky IL-09 Supporter
Rep. Mark Schauer MI-07 Supporter
Rep. Adam Schiff CA-29 Supporter
Rep. Kurt Schrader OR-05 Unknown
Rep. Allyson Schwartz PA-13 Unknown
Rep. David Scott GA-13 Unknown
Rep. Robert Scott VA-03 Supporter
Rep. Jose Serrano NY-16 Supporter
Rep. Joe Sestak PA-07 Unknown
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter NH-01 Supporter
Rep. Brad Sherman CA-27 Supporter
Rep. Heath Shuler NC-11 Unknown
Rep. Albio Sires NJ-13 Unknown
Rep. Ike Skelton MO-04 Unknown
Rep. Louise Slaughter NY-28 Unknown
Rep. Adam Smith WA-09 Unknown
Rep. Vic Snyder AR-02 Unknown
Rep. Zack Space OH-18 Unknown
Rep. Jackie Speier CA-12 Supporter
Rep. John Spratt SC-05 Unknown
Rep. Pete Stark CA-13 Unknown
Rep. Bart Stupak MI-01 Unknown
Rep. Betty Sutton OH-13 Supporter
Rep. John Tanner TN-08 Unknown
Rep. Gene Taylor MS-04 Unknown
Rep. Harry Teague NM-02 Unknown
Rep. Mike Thompson CA-01 Supporter
Rep. Bennie Thompson MS-02 Unknown
Rep. John Tierney MA-06 Supporter
Rep. Dina Titus NV-03 Unknown
Rep. Paul Tonko NY-21 Supporter
Rep. Edolphus Towns NY-10 Supporter
Rep. Niki Tsongas MA-05 Supporter
Rep. Chris Van Hollen MD-08 Unknown
Rep. Nydia Velazquez NY-12 Supporter
Rep. Peter Visclosky IN-01 Unknown
Rep. Tim Walz MN-01 Unknown
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz FL-20 Unknown
Rep. Maxine Waters CA-35 Supporter
Rep. Diane Watson CA-33 Supporter
Rep. Mel Watt NC-12 Supporter
Rep. Henry Waxman CA-30 Unknown
Rep. Anthony Weiner NY-09 Supporter
Rep. Peter Welch VT-01 Supporter
Rep. Charles Wilson OH-06 Unknown
Rep. Lynn Woolsey CA-06 Supporter
Rep. David Wu OR-01 Supporter
Rep. John Yarmuth KY-03 Supporter

Plus: Delegates Donna M. Christensen (D-VI) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

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