Party leaders dressed down Peterson as he sought to persuade the 50 members of the steering committee to make him the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee. Hoyer and Miller directed much their ire on Petersons Medicare vote, when Peterson was one of 16 Democrats to side with Republicans in the tightest roll call in recent memory. It is a strong indication that Democratic leaders will insist upon party unity as Republicans plan to reform Social Security, the other massive entitlement program that has been a mainstay of the Democratic coalition.They are also cracking the whip on those who support Soc Security privitization and it's long overdue. Peterson boasted that he didn't need to Medicare vote to win his district by 65% of the vote. Screw him. He should be denied the committee assignment.
Peterson was one of five Democrats to vote for the House GOP drug bill in 2000 and one of eight to vote for the Republican Medicare bill in 2002.
He stands next in seniority on the agricultural panel to replace former Rep. Charles Stenholm (D-Texas), who was defeated in November. But questions about Petersons party loyalty, both his voting record and his lackadaisical fundraising, have forestalled what would have been an otherwise routine promotion to be the Democrats top lawmaker on issues affecting rural and often red America.
There is no doubt that theres a lot of resentment about how Collin Peterson has conducted himself in his time in Congress. Its more than just the Medicare vote, a senior Democratic aide said.
As for Soc Security, D leadership should pull out all the stops. Josh Marshall has written on this, and I've cited to him here. Not just crack the whip with regard to internal house issues. Let them know that our reliable funders will have no money for them. Nothing from Labor or our PACs. Screw them. The Soc Security issue, like the Medicare bill are bad for American and we don't need those in our party who stand with the Rs. Their cowards. If we loose a couple seats to stand for something, so be it. Will make up others by being principled.