OK

Where the tips came from first, I have no idea. But without fanfare -- and you should perhaps take that as a clue -- the House Budget Committee has posted a 2,309 page bill (PDF) that purports to be the text of the upcoming reconciliation bill. And as early sneak-peekers saw almost right away, it appears to contain... the public option.

But almost as quickly, denials were being issued via Twitter that caused almost as much confusion as the raw text caused excitement.

So what's going on here?

I don't know for sure yet, but here's my best guess given both the text we can see with our own eyes and the denials, plus this clue from the link to the PDF on the Budget Committee page:

Click here to download the text of the reconciliation recommendations sent to the Budget Committee in October by the House Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees.(PDF - 3.26 MB)

I'm just not entirely sure what this thing is.

The only thing that makes any sense to me given both the text I see and the denials I'm reading is that maybe in order for the parliamentarians to consider whatever reconciliation bill is forthcoming as the natural and authorized successor to the reconciliation bill the budget resolution entitles us to, it has to pick up right where it left off in the House -- meaning in the form with the public option in it -- and then be changed in a committee markup into whatever final form they want it to have.

The bill on the Budget site could just be a discarded early draft from October (when the three House committees of jurisdiction were required to submit their bills to the Budget Committee in case reconciliation were used for the main bill), and that's what they'll use tomorrow as a vehicle for the fix material.

Meaning that it might "have the public option in it" only as a formality, and only for the next few hours, before they strike all of the "current" text out and replace it with the agree-upon text of the narrower, budget-focused "fix" bill we've been expecting.

UPDATE: Tonight's biggest "duh" moment: I forgot that I already wrote that something like this could happen a month and a half ago.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 14, 2010 at 08:38 PM PDT.

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