More Liberals Push For Public Option RevivalFebruary 18, 2010 - by Eric Naing
The public option, declared dead time and time again throughout the health care reform process, is once again showing faint signs of life.
As I mentioned before, four Senate Democrats the week signed onto a letter urging their colleagues to pass the public option through the Senate under reconciliation – a process that requires 51 votes instead of the 60 now mandated by near-constant GOP filibustering.
Since the letter was released, 16 Senate Democrats have signed on. The majority of these signatories are liberal Democrats like Sen. Al Franken [D, MN], Sen. John Kerry [D, MA] and Sen. Bernie Sanders [I, VT] who have already expressed their support for the public option in the past.
Liberals are obviously excited about this attempted revival of one of their main health care priorities but until the White House and the Democratic leadership signs on, or the number of signatories comes close to 51, it’s doubtful that the Senate will vote on a public option any time soon.
You can follow who signs the letter here.
UPDATE: Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY], the powerful and influential vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, has become the first member of the Democratic leadership to sign the letter in support of the public option. In an email to supporters upon signing the letter, he wrote:
First it was in the Senate bill, then it was out. But now, thanks to the tenacity of a group of four Democratic Senators — Michael Bennet (CO), Sherrod Brown (OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Jeff Merkley (OR) — there is a renewed push to create a public option as part of health care reform.
I just added my name to their effort to pass a public option through the reconciliation process, and I wanted you to be the first to know.
This is far from a done deal, but it’s an opportunity to break through the obstructionism Republicans have pushed for the past year.