October 23, 2009
Public Option: Still On The TableReports of the public option's demise may be exaggerated:
Democratic sources tell me that Reid – after a series of meetings with Democratic moderates – has concluded he can pass a bill with a public option.Even though an aide later denied that Reid concluded he has the votes, he confirms that talks are definitely in the direction of including a public option in the final bill.
Meanwhile, ABC's report adds that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was apopleptic about this because he courted Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-ME) for months, to the extent of including her lame ideas to weaken the bill. He even tried to rally the Blue Dogs against it.
As if on cue, Sen. Snowe threatens to withdraw her support and possibly filibuster any bill that contains an immediate public option. She also added that Congress shouldn't rush this, that "Christmas might be too soon" and "we should give it the time it deserves". Funny, considering she never demanded more time when voting yes for the Wall Street bailout, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War.
We all know that the Democrats don't need Snowe's vote to pass this bill. It's just "bipartisan" cover so the Blue Dogs like Nelson, Lincoln and Landrieu can vote for the bill as well without upsetting the conservatives in their districts too much. The reality is, no matter how much they strip the bill bare, conservatives won't like it, and conservatives won't like them.
Hopefully, this sudden surge of courage on Sen. Reid's (D-NV) part means he realizes this, and that pressure from the grassroots convinced him it's more important to please the public -- which is overwhelmingly for the public option, despite what the nutty, screaming fringe in town hall meetings claim -- than Sen. Snowe and AHIP.
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