Public Option Update: 51 Votes Secured on the Floor

Some big news in the Finance Committee mark-up:

  • The Rockefeller amendment for a strong public option tied to Medicare rates was defeat by a vote of 8 in favor, 15 against. Senators Baucus, Carper, Conrad, Lincoln and Bill Nelson voted against.
  • The Schumer amendment for a "level playing field" public option will be voted on next. So far, among opponents to Rockefeller amendment, already Bill Nelson has said he will vote in favor.
  • Removing Baucus and adding Bill Nelson as a supporter of some sort of trigger-less public option keeps the whip count at the same number (and really, since we are now talking cloture instead of reconciliation, Byrd becomes a "yes," and we have a safety margin). There are still enough votes to pass a public option if it is included in the merged bill sent to the floor by the Budget Committee, and if it isn't filibustered.
  • Update Carper votes in favor of Schumer public option. With Carper and Byrd, we don't even need Tester, Pryor or Begich. 51 votes now secured for Schumer public option on Senate floor. If this public option is in the bill and passes cloture, the public option will pass into law.

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