Public Option Looking Good In the Senate ... Baucus Ballistic, According to ABC News

Naysayers declared it impossible, but ABC News reports that Harry Reid thinks he has the votes to get a public option to the Senate floor.

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 toJonathan 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.
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