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Landrieu Open To Reconciliation, Two More For Public Option

Mary Landrieu just signaled that she could support a health care bill moving through the budget reconciliation process. With Landrieu, among the four or five members of the Democratic caucus who were the last to sign on to the health care bill at all, now supporting the sidecar strategy, it seems assured that Senate Democrats will at least give it a shot.

“I don’t know about that, but I’m staying open to see how these negotiations go forward. I’ve not generally been a big supporter, but the Republican Party, the leadership, has really been very, very, very disingenuous in this process,” Landrieu told reporters.

She called the Republicans overtures at bipartisanship “a faux effort.”

Everyone’s focused on whether the Senate could steel themselves to make this happen. The real action now is in the House, where it’s completely unclear whether the votes exist to pass any health care bill at this point, especially with the Stupak amendment left unresolved.

Meanwhile, Debbie Stabenow and Tim Johnson signed on to the Bennet letter on passing the public option through reconciliation, bringing the total number to 24. But the White House signaled today that they’d expend no energy whatsoever in helping that along, and as for the House, see above (and keep in mind that they need to find members who voted against the House bill the first time – the one that had a public option – to vote for it now).

UPDATE: And then there’s Jay Rockefeller, nominally a supporter of the public option, saying that it should not pass through the reconciliation process.

“I don’t think the timing of it is very good,” the West Virginia Democrat said on Monday. “I’m probably not going to vote for that, although I’m strongly for the public option, because I think it creates, at a time when we really need as much bipartisan[ship] … as possible. ”

Rockefeller added: “I don’t think you [pursue] something like the public option, which cannot pass, will not pass. And if we get the Senate bill–both through the medical loss ratio and the national plans, which have in that, every one of them has to have one not-for-profit plan, which is sort of like a public option.”

He doesn’t seem to reject the reconciliation process itself, he just wants to make sure he’s being bipartisan while using a majority-vote process that allows one party to push forward its agenda. Maybe he just wants to preserve and take credit for his medical loss ratio idea. Who knows.

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David Dayen

David Dayen