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The Hill is reporting that:

The White House is willing to make a push for the public option if Senate Democrats decide to bring it up for a vote, Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said tonight.

Regarding the 18 senators that have signed a letter asking Harry Reid to push for the public option using reconciliation, which would allow Democrats to pass it with just 51 votes, Sebelius said the administration would back that decision.

"Certainly. If it's part of the decision of the Senate leadership to move forward, absolutely," she told Rachel Maddow.

That development has led progressive to make a renewed push for a government-run insurance plan.

This is great news folks!  This is the first comment we have heard publicly from the administration since the senate letter supporting the public option was first made public a couple of days ago.

The letter has gone from 4 to 18 signers, with at least three senate supporters who have not officially signed on.  In addition, it has been reported by Huff Po that even Bayh may be willing to use reconciliation for health-care reform, and Feingold has agreed as well.

Our job now is to ensure that the Senate Leadership brings this up for a vote.

MediaFreeze has an excellent diary that includes the names of the Senators who have not yet signed - aptly named the "No Place to Hide" list.

There is another excellent diary by Catskill Julie with contact information for all the senators.

You know what to do!

Update:  angie in WA state made an interesting observation about The Hill piece.

What I noticed in the article you cited, the tenor of the comments was most decidedly different than usual - which is predominantly conservative and anti-Obama in particular and anti-democratic/liberal/progressive in general.

This article is primarily pro-Democratic, and it's really a significant change in the comments from the past four months or so.

To me, that is a significant sign that President Obama and Democratic candidates for this November would do well to take note of.

Update 2:   The New York Times is reporting that

President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week

President Obama's health care "proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority."

Originally posted to nandssmith on Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 08:34 PM PST.

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