Video: Dem Senator Criticizes Progressives for Pushing Public Option

Sen. Charles Schumer, whose amendment for a public option in the Baucus health-care bill failed yesterday, says pressure from the left is hurting the cause.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday voted down two public-option amendments to the Baucus bill -- the health-care reform proposal that nobody seems to like (except, perhaps, insurance companies). One of those amendments, both of which would have added a public insurance plan to the legislation, was offered by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The day before the vote, two organizations, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, began airing a jointly produced television ad that targets Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus for the absence of a public option his his bill, citing the $4 million in campaign donations from the health and insurance sectors he has collected over the course of his career.

Last night, Schumer appeared on MSNBC's Hardball, where he told host Chris Matthews that the ad was hurting his quest to get the public option into the bill.

Yet, support seems to be building in the Senate for the public option, oddly concurrent with the increased heat senators are feeling, thanks to the efforts of progressives. Sounds to me like Schumer was saying what he needed to say in order to stay at the Finance Committee negotiating table.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington editor.