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Mark Pryor Won’t Filibuster The Health Care Bill

Based on this interview by Mike Stark, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor apparently would not join a Republican filibuster of health care reform legislation, barring something “completely objectionable.”

STARK: Is there any chance you would join with the Republicans to stop health care, say if there was a public option in the Senate version bill?

PRYOR: Well, there are so many variables on this. I don’t want to say no, there’s no chance, because something could be added that could just be completely objectionable. But I don’t think you’ll see…

STARK: It would be a crazy circumstance if you would.

PRYOR: Yeah, I don’t think you’ll see me or any other Democrats do that

There’s plenty of wiggle room in those words, but we just haven’t heard a lot from Pryor throughout this debate. He’s not on the relevant committees, and he hasn’t weighed in a whole lot. Back in June he said he could support a public option if it were designed “in a way that increases… competition.” But he is not part of any public option whip counts.

But the key question is the one Stark asked. And Pryor said that he couldn’t see him or anyone in the caucus joining a filibuster. Senate leaders said similar things today. Despite nameless Administration staffers’ comments, nobody in the Democratic caucus has announced they would join a filibuster, meaning that the leadership should feel free to add in elements supported by a majority of the Senate. And if there are members who would filibuster a bill, they ought to take the responsibility and say it publicly.

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David Dayen

David Dayen