Friday, October 16, 2009

Does the public option rest on a thin Reid?

Pre-gaming the Harry Reid-led meetings to merge the Senate Finance Committee bill and the HELP bill, Ezra Klein highlights an important inflection point for the public option:
If Reid decides to put a public option, or some sort of public option compromise, into the bill, then it would require 60 senators to remove it on the floor, and only 41 senators to defend it. Conversely, if he decides to leave the public option fight for the floor, then it will take 60 senators to add it into the bill, and only 41 to block it. That means that groups who see an issue decided in their favor during the blend have a huge advantage over groups that are left to fight it out on the floor.
Of course, if Reid and his gang of 3-4 do include a public option (or some ghost of one) in the bill they bring to floor debate, and thus make it difficult to remove the public option on the floor, it will still ultimately take 60 senators to achieve cloture and bring any bill to a vote in the Senate.

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