Ok, you probably don't even want to hear about it anymore, but Ryan Grim says that in this week's Senate vote on the health care reconciliation package there may be one more chance for the public option.
Republicans are planning to raise a number of points of order on parts of the bill they say can't be passed using reconciliation. If so much as a comma is changed, the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, so Democrats have been instructed by the leadership to vote down every amendment.
Here's where things get trickier:
"We know the Republicans are likely to offer a lot of amendments, and some of them may be appealing to Democrats, but we have to urge them to stick with the bill," Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters earlier in March....
But if Republicans succeed in altering the bill even slightly, that justification disappears. The House, at that point, will be required to vote on the bill one more time.
And with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and his pro-life caucus squarely on board as the result of a deal with the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has the votes to pass a public option. There's an easy way to prove that assertion: She passed it in November 220-215 with a public option. Sunday night's version passed 220-211, meaning that four members could peel off and she would still have the needed support.
Any Democrat could introduce a public option amendment in the Senate and it would need a bare majority to pass. Would it have 50 votes? It looks that way,
Changing the bill at this point is something the Democrats want at all costs to avoid. But if the Republicans succeed in forcing a change, and they're going to have to go through another House vote anyway, why NOT include the public option at that point?
Something to watch for this week anyway. The irony, if a public option managed to be passed that way, would be delicious.