Liberals Regroup After Public Option Defeat
By Ben Pershing
An outcome that had been expected for weeks still generated a good deal of drama and post-game analysis, as Tuesday's defeat of efforts to add the public insurance option to the Senate Finance Committee's health-care bill pushed the reform debate into a new stage.
The Finance panel rejected successive amendments from Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer to create a public option, "dealing a crippling blow to the hopes of liberals seeking to expand the federal role in health coverage as a cornerstone of reform," the Washington Post writes. Max Baucus said he wants "a bill that can become law" and did not see enough support for the public option to get it through the Senate. Schumer agreed, for now: "We don't have the 60 votes on the floor for the public option. I will be the first to admit that." The Los Angeles Times reports: "It was the biggest setback to date for liberal Democrats, but did not kill the possibility of a public option being included in final legislation," Public option supporters will get several more bites at the apple: They can offer more amendments on the Senate floor (assuming, as most observers do, that Harry Reid will not include this element in the chamber's combined bill). Or they can fight for it during conference negotiations, since the House is still expected to include some form of public plan in its bill.
Posted at 8:27 AM ET on Sep 30, 2009
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