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Will Reid Dare Defy Empress Snowe on the Public Option Opt-Out?

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ABC is reporting Reid is leaning towards putting a national, weak, “level playing field” public option with an opt-out provision in the merged bill. The move could be a result of real leadership, terror at the thought of losing his election, courage, profound personal conviction, incredible pressure from inside the caucus, necessity, or a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, Reid seems to believe he can get the 60 votes needed for cloture on a bill that includes a weak public option with an opt-out, even if the whole caucus would not end up voting for the bill itself:

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.

This move would be in direct defiance of Empress Snowe’s decree that the bill must not have a public option, even with an opt out:

“Would [inclusion of a public option] be enough for you to vote against the cloture motion?” a reporter asked Snowe on her way off the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.

“On the public option? I’d say I’m against a public option, so yes,” Snowe said.

“But would it be enough for you to say, ‘I’m not going to proceed to this bill?'” the reporter pressed. Snowe nodded on her way into the elevator.

Snowe said she also opposes the opt-out version of the public plan, which would allow individual states to remove their residents from the federal exchange. “I don’t support that,” she said.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has spent months wooing Snowe by integrating her terrible ideas into the Senate Finance Committee bill. Even a few days ago, Baucus was pushing to water down the bill further to make it more to her liking. It’s being reported that, at the thought of losing his prized token Republican support for his bill, “Baucus went to DEFCON 1.”

Would Harry Reid really defy Snowe? As with all things related to Reid, I suggest waiting until there is solid proof before casting judgment.

Update: Baucus really wants to keep Snowe on board and/or kill the public option. TPM is reporting that he went to conservative Democratic senators to try to whip them up against the public option with opt out. . . 

This, apparently, didn’t sit well with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who is determined to keep Sen. Olympia Snowe’s vote.

“Baucus met with moderates this morning and got them nervous.” Or tried at least. Snowe clearly laid down her mark. And Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) didn’t seem particularly pleased. But of all the Senate’s conservative Democrats, none have yet rebelled.

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Will Reid Dare Defy Empress Snowe On The Public Option Opt-Out?

ABC is reporting Reid is leaning towards putting a national, weak, “level playing field” public option with an opt-out provision in the merged bill. The move could be a result of real leadership, terror at the thought of losing his election, courage, profound personal conviction, incredible pressure from inside the caucus, necessity, or a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, Reid seems to believe he can get the 60 votes needed for cloture on a bill that includes a weak public option with an opt-out, even if the whole caucus would not end up voting for the bill itself:

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.

This move would be in direct defiance of Empress Snowe’s decree that the bill must not have a public option, even with an opt out:

“Would [inclusion of a public option] be enough for you to vote against the cloture motion?” a reporter asked Snowe on her way off the Senate floor Thursday afternoon.

“On the public option? I’d say I’m against a public option, so yes,” Snowe said.

“But would it be enough for you to say, ‘I’m not going to proceed to this bill?'” the reporter pressed. Snowe nodded on her way into the elevator.

Snowe said she also opposes the opt-out version of the public plan, which would allow individual states to remove their residents from the federal exchange. “I don’t support that,” she said.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) has spent months wooing Snowe by integrating her terrible ideas into the Senate Finance Committee bill. Even a few days ago, Baucus was pushing to water down the bill further to make it more to her liking. It’s being reported that, at the thought of losing his prized token Republican support for his bill, “Baucus went to DEFCON 1.”

Would Harry Reid really defy Snowe? As with all things related to Reid, I suggest waiting until there is solid proof before casting judgment.

Update: Baucus really wants to keep Snowe on board and/or kill the public option. TPM is reporting that he went to conservative Democratic senators to try to whip them up against the public option with opt out.

This, apparently, didn’t sit well with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who is determined to keep Sen. Olympia Snowe’s vote.

“Baucus met with moderates this morning and got them nervous.” Or tried at least. Snowe clearly laid down her mark. And Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) didn’t seem particularly pleased. But of all the Senate’s conservative Democrats, none have yet rebelled.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com