Update 2: New information posted on Thursday, August 27th
(Special thanks to Sujat Rajiv Parikh--Chris)
Update: I miscounted. There are only 45 public option supporters on the chart. That is still close though.
Can you feel the new momentum for the public option?
Earlier in the week, the Progressive Block's "revolt" on comments by Kathleen Sebelius seems to be making the Congressional leadership and White House back down from compromising on the public option. Late last night, it appears that Republican bad-faith from chief Republican Senate negotiator Charles Grassley, combined with attacks on co-ops from the RNC, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Whip John Kyl, seem to have made the administration decide they aren't going to seek Republican votes on health care reform anymore.
Now, this morning, I have even more good news. The latest Senate whip count confirms 46 Senators in favor of a public option, up from 43 last week, and only four away from enough to pass it into law! Last night, two diligent readers sent in links showing Senators Tim Johnson, Herb Kohl, and Amy Klobuchar (HCAN pledge signer) are in favor of the public option. The new whip count chart can be found in the extended entry.
Here is the strategy, summarized as quickly as I can:
This isn't a full-proof strategy, but if someone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it. If we have 50 Senators, along with an immobile Progressive Block in the House, then the only thing preventing health care reform from passing will be Democratic Senators who intend to filibuster it. We can do this. We are doing this. Here is how you can help:
Soon, we are going to roll out a major action to get the Senate over 50 on the public option. Stay tuned.
- Hold the Progressive Block in the House, keeping the public option alive.(So far, so good)
- Get 50 Senators on record supporting the public option. (46 down, 4 to go)
- Maintain the threat of reconciliation. No one elected the Senate parliamentarian, and the people who were elected to run the Senate (you know, Democrats) can always hire a different Senate parliamentarian. There is precedent for doing just that. Process arguments are just opposition by another name.
- While holding the line on 1, 2 and 3, use any and all carrots and sticks convince the other ten Democratic Senators not to filibuster health care reform, even if they intend to vote against it final passage.
- Pass health care reform with a public option into law.
Whip count chart in the extended entry.