Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).Given the reports that Reid is within a vote or two of being able to pass a bill that includes a national public option with an opt-out, a full-court press by both Reid and Obama should be sufficient to insure health care reform contains a public option. Democrats clearly seem to have the power to get a public option with an opt-out provision passed through the Senate using regular order (or, of course, using reconciliation).
Reid and Obama both claim they want a real public option. Now they have a chance to deliver.
The grassroots, House members, senators, and policy experts have all called Snowe's trigger idea worthless. A public option has strong majority support, and is favored overwhelming among self-identified Democrats. If Reid and Obama reject this chance to deliver on both of their promises to provide Americans with a the choice of a public option, it will stand as a monumental betrayal.
If the public option is sacrificed, just to possibly win the support of one unnecessary Republican vote, Harry Reid might as well resign and officially declare Olympia Snowe Senate Majority Leader. In the next few days, if there is a “trigger,” we will know Reid's continued "leadership" is less than worthless to progressives.