In the wake
of Saturday’s Senate vote to take up the chamber’s health reform
legislation, the focus of the debate has shifted back to the public option,
over which no fewer than four Democratic caucus members — Sens. Mary
Landrieu (D-La.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joe
Lieberman (I-Conn.) — have threatened to kill the bill.
With Congress out of town for the Thanksgiving break, there’s been
little to distract Washington’s prognosticators from offering their
predictions over the public plan’s fate. Truth is, no one is quite sure
how this saga is going to play out. Based on comments from several of
the four moderates since Saturday’s vote, it’s tempting to argue that
Democratic leaders will at the very least have to scale back the public
plan to pass the larger bill. Then again, the way Landrieu melted Saturday
at the chance to secure millions of federal dollars for Louisiana
indicates that there’s much more at play here than mere principle.
With all of that in mind, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) offered his
own optimistic take on how the drama over the public option will end,
telling CNN yesterday that the historical significance of the reform
vote will ultimately be enough to sway the four moderates in favor of
In the end, I don’t want four Democratic senators
dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public
option has this much support, that it’s not going to be in it. […]
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I don’t think they want to be on the wrong side of history. I don’t
think they want to go back and say, you know, on a procedural vote, I
killed the most important bill in my political career. I don’t think
they want to be there on that. So I think in the end, we get them.