Moving Forward

Reid Pushing Public Option to Vote

Health care's public option "is not a silver bullet," but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is moving forward with it. In a press conference Monday afternoon, Reid announced he will move forward with a health-care bill that includes the public option—and also a public-option opt-out provision for unwilling states. After months of intra-party bickering and "countless hours... consulting senators," Reid sends his proposal to the Congressional Budget Office this afternoon for scoring. In his conference, the Nevada Democrat emphasized the value of "raising competition for quality care" and "preserving choice" in medicine. When reporters asked what would happen if health care's sole Republican crossover, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, backed out over the public option, Reid acknowledged that Snowe is a wildcard: "She does not like a public option of any kind. But there will come a time, I hope, that she will see the wisdom of having a health-care bill with the option of a public option." Earlier Monday, Politico's Glenn Thrush reported that Reid was in contact with almost his entire 60-member caucus this weekend to rally support, and that he has secured 56 or 57 votes for his plan. CNN reports that a 50-vote reconciliation process is still on the table for Reid (as opposed to the usual 60-vote requirement) Sen. Reid apparently spent a large portion of the weekend meeting with his staff and ironing out specifics with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.