High Noon for the Public Option in the Senate Tomorrow

Sep 24, 2009 6:38pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: Tomorrow is high noon for the public option in the Senate. I am told that Senators Chuck Schumer and Jay Rockefeller will force a roll-call vote tomorrow morning in the Senate Finance Committee on two amendments that would create a government-run insurance program – a top priority for liberal Democrats that was left out of the bill drafted by Finance Chairman Max Baucus. The amendments are not likely to pass because they will be opposed by all Republicans, and at least four Democrats on the committee are cool to the idea of a public option (Lincoln, Carper, Conrad, Bill Nelson), but Schumer has been trying to negotiate with those Democrats to craft a version of the public option they could support. If the amendments fail, it would appear the public option is all but dead in the Senate (although liberals will try to resurrect it when the full Senate takes up the bill).UPDATE: Rockefeller and Schumer announced the vote last night, declaring "it's time for a debate on the public option."  But, it turns out, that time won't come until next week, because the Finance Committee is only working until noon today, giving Baucus & Grassley time to catch 2pm flights back home.

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