On the Rachel Maddow Show last night, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) publicly delivered a message that is likely not to sit well with Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Schumer basically said it was completely up to Reid if he wanted to put a public option in the combined Senate bill that is brought to the floor. (The HELP bill contains a public option and the Finance bill does not.) Schumer also said if Reid puts a public option in the Senate bill, it would not be removed and likely become law.
Well, first leader Reid has the option of putting [the public option] in the final bill. If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill, then you would need 60 votes to remove it, and there are clearly not 60 votes against the public option. And so we're urging him to do that, and he is seriously considering it. Once it passes the Senate, if that were to happen, it is in the House bill, it is in the Senate bill, and it would have to be in the final product. So, it is very important to see if the public option is in the bill leader Reid puts together. He hasn't yet made up his mind, but many of us who believe in the public option are urging him to do so. So far, we are getting heard.
The message is pretty simple. Reid has the power to pass a public option. If the public option is killed in the Senate, the blame rests squarely on Reid. The question is, with a very tough election coming up, does Reid want to be know as the man who killed the public option?