Harry Reid Faces Public Option DilemmaThe Washington Post: "Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid is facing intensifying pressure from liberal lawmakers to revive a proposed government insurance plan before health-care reform legislation reaches the Senate floor, amid signs that moderate Democrats may be warming to the idea." Although the Senate Finance Committee rejected two versions of this mechanism, "the idea has gained momentum in recent weeks as Democrats look to ensure that the policies Americans would be required to buy would be affordable." The liberals are trying to convince Reid that the public option has enough votes to pass in the Senate. The real challenge is finding middle ground among all liberals and moderates like Sens. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, and Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, to attract a large base for passage of the health care reform bill (Murray and Montgomery, 10/21).
Roll Call: "Reid, speaking to reporters after Tuesday's negotiating session, said the negotiators have yet to reach the point of actually merging the two competing Senate health care reform bills that are to be the basis of the final floor vehicle. But the Majority Leader said the talks thus far have been fruitful. "Reid would not talk about the particulars of discussions (Drucker, 10/20).
ABC News reports on a press conference that Reid held with his negotiators with a video: "I hope to get something to the (Congressional Budget Office) soon, but that's a relative term," Reid said, adding that he's working as quickly as he can and commenting briefly on the public option's inclusion in the merged bill. "We're leaning toward talking about a public option" (10/20).
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