Public Option Looking Good In the Senate ... Baucus Ballistic, According to ABC News
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After weeks of hand-wringing over the alleged inevitability of a filibuster against any health-care reform bill that contains a public insurance plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid now thinks he has the votes, according to Jonathan Karl of ABC News, to bring a bill with a public option to the Senate floor, where it is almost sure to win. Karl writes:
Reid is now convinced that Democratic critics of the public option will support him when it counts – on the procedural motion, which requires 60 votes, to defeat a certain GOP-led filibuster of the bill. Once the filibuster is beaten, it only takes 51 votes to pass the bill.
And one health-care camper is said to be very unhappy: Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of Senate Finance Committee, whose bill purposefully omitted any public health plan. As Karl explains:
I am told that Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) – who worked for months to get Olympia Snowe’s support for the bill and has consistently said a public option cannot pass the Senate – was apoplectic when Reid told him he wanted to include the public option. “Baucus went to DEFCON 1,” said a source familiar with the negotiations, referring to the alert level the military uses for an imminent attack on the homeland.
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington editor.