Senate Democrats are going to have to move forward on healthcare without a single Republican supporter after Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she could not back the Finance Committee's bill.
Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) failed to win any Republican backer despite weeks of intense negotiations behind closed doors to strike a deal.
This is great, great news. There is no longer any justification for the Baucus bill, as it simply cannot reach 60 votes.
To reach 60, you need all 59 members of the Democratic caucus, plus at least one Republican. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are the only two possible Republicans, for a total universe of 61 possible supporters.
With Snowe opposing, that leaves only Collins. The universe of possible supporters is reduced to 60.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that he would not support Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) health care reform bill in its current form - primarily because it lacks a public insurance option.
That reduces the Baucus bill to a maximum of 59 supporters.
The only justification ever given for the Baucus bill, and all of its problems, is that it could reach 60 votes. Well, that justification no longer exists.
The Baucus bill cannot get 60 votes in the Senate. The only way it can pass is through reconciliation. However, the bill was specifically designed to avoid having to use reconciliation.
Not only is the Baucus bill a highly questionable piece of legislation, it simply is not able to pass into law. Given how frequently conservative Democrats justify abandoning progressive policy by claiming that said policy cannot pass through Congress, it gives me great pleasure to point out in order for health care reform to pass, it actually requires a more robust public option in both the House and Senate.