Reid Appears To Have 60 for Cloture

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 15:15


Harry Reid's big press conference on the merged Senate health care bill is set to begin at 3:15 p.m., eastern.  Reportedly, he will announce that an opt-out public option will be included in the bill.

Given this news, it certainly seems as though Reid has managed to acquire 60 votes for cloture on a health care bill with the opt-out public option.  This assessment is supported by recent statements from Democratic Senators, all of whom have left the door open to cloture on a health care bill with an opt-out public option.

Here is the latest Senate whip count:

Given all of this, it now seems entirely possible that Reid has 60 votes for cloture on a health care bill with an opt-out public option. We will find out more in a few minutes, but he may very well have pulled this off.

This is an open thread fore Reid's press conference.

Update: Reid just announced that the opt-out will be in the bill. Claims there is consensus within the Democratic caucus on this matter.

Now, the campaign is no longer about whether or not there will be a public option, but what type of public option there will be. A big step forward.

Update 2: Reid claims that once the bill is scored by the CBO, he believes there will be 60 votes for cloture. While there are many dueling claims on that front right now, this post at least provides one plausible supporting justification for that claim.

Update 3: Press conference is over. The bill will apparently have both a public option and a co-op. Not sure what to make of that. Will investigate.

Update 4: Great notes from commenter ai002h:

-Including Optout PO with support of the WH, and Baucus, which eliminates him as a no vote, much less a filibuster threat (which was far fetched to begin with)

-States will able to optout in 2014, although from his wording it could be they have UNTIL 2014 to Optout, at which time the Optout would presumably no longer be available to states

-Not getting the trigger scored by CBO, which probably means Reid is not seriously looking at it

-Says he hasn't asked the WH to pressure any Dems because it hasn't been necessary, and that 60 votes allows them a certain comfort level to pursue this strategy.

-Says Snowe doesn't like ANY PO, so they'll just have to move forward and hope that she'll join in later in the process. Basically they're getting ready to go without her.

-There will be a Coop in the bill, they're just preserving what was already in the Finance, which is fine since many of us are OK with Coops alongside the PO.

This certainly seems like a very, very big victory.

Chris Bowers :: Reid Appears To Have 60 for Cloture

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Bill Nelson (0.00 / 0)
just said that there are not 60 votes for the opt-out according to FDL.

I am shocked about Evan Bayh given his wife's connections.  Li


Hmmm... (0.00 / 0)
Not clear if that's for cloture or for the bill...

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
Bill Nelson (0.00 / 0)
just said that there are not 60 votes for the opt-out according to FDL.

I am shocked about Evan Bayh given his wife's connections.  Li


Bayh... (0.00 / 0)
... won't "go it alone", nor did I think he ever would want to be a Gang of 2.  Far too easy to get exposed as Senator Wellpoint if he didn't have enough cover from other ConservaDems.

I do think Ben would probably be willing to be #2, but not #1.

One wonders if Blanche got arm twisted over his committee chair.  It gives her a big seat at the table on a number of items important to her agenda for the balance of her term.  Probably far more of a seat than constantly playing the "I Might Vote Against Cloture" card.

I'm a little worried about the CBO score that comes back since it's a Level Playing Field and lord knows what assumptions Elmendorf will cook into it on states opting-out.  Rather than look at the House's Medicare + 5%, we know the the ConservaDems will take a mediocre CBO score to start rolling back subsidies.

John


what did reid said about a co-op? (0.00 / 0)


co-opt (0.00 / 0)
I thought it was interesting that the bill has both a public option and a co-opt.

I'm nervous (0.00 / 0)
any idea wtf is this?

[ Parent ]
my guess (0.00 / 0)
co-ops will be available, but unless your state opts out, then there probably won't be any in your state.

[ Parent ]
No big deal, I think (4.00 / 1)
The finance bill had a co-opt, the HELP bill had a public option, so the merged bill has both.  I can't think of any reason to not have a co-opt.  There are many reasons not to use co-opts in replace of the public option, but that isn't the case, here.  

My guess is the co-opt is really state based, so it will be many co-opts, but I don't really know anything about it.


[ Parent ]
Not a big deal (0.00 / 0)
The Co-op in the Finance committee bill is so minuscule, both in its funding and in its overall effect, that its probably somethign they're carrying over to simply offer more choice and competition. I'm pretty sure that the Coop as a stand alone solution is completely dead, even its supporters like Conrad and Baucus have stopped pushing for it, both publically and privately. IMO, there could be some positives with a Coop alongside the PO.  

[ Parent ]
Three possibilities with the co-ops (4.00 / 2)
1) They do precisely what most people think, which is nothing. They're supposedly self funding, so we shouldn't end up having to pay for the nothing, and there's still the public option in there to provide competition.

2) They surprise everyone and actually work. In this case it will be one more choice along side the public option that isn't private for-profit insurance.

3) Something in-between.

So, because they don't supplant the public option, they won't be any worse than a push.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
thanks to all (4.00 / 1)
won't a co-op take away some of the negotiating power of the po?

[ Parent ]
I'm worried about this too (0.00 / 0)
if co-ops end up siphoning some of the customers who want a "non-profit option" of some kind away from the PO.

[ Parent ]
I think... (4.00 / 2)
... Co-Ops will die a quick death in Conference.  When looking around for things to cut costs of the bill, that will be a quick and easy one.  In the total package, the $$$ is a small start up that can easily get moved elsewhere (such as the start up costs of the PO).  Wouldn't worry about this one at all.  It's not a fallback for the PO going bye-bye.

John


[ Parent ]
Notes from the presser (4.00 / 7)

-Reid says he was always a strong supporter of the PO, not a silver bullet, but the best way to go. Cites the national and nevada polls, so the man knows where the politics for him lie on this issue

-Including Optout PO with support of the WH, and Baucus, which eliminates him as a no vote, much less a filibuster threat (which was far fetched to begin with)

-States will able to optout in 2014, although from his wording it could be they have UNTIL 2014 to Optout, at which time the Optout would presumably no longer be available to states

-Not getting the trigger scored by CBO, which probably means Reid is not seriously looking at it

-Says he hasn't asked the WH to pressure any Dems because it hasn't been necessary, and that 60 votes allows them a certain comfort level to pursue this strategy.

-Says Snowe doesn't like ANY PO, so they'll just have to move forward and hope that she'll join in later in the process. Basically they're getting ready to go without her.

-There will be a Coop in the bill, they're just preserving what was already in the Finance, which is fine since many of us are OK with Coops alongside the PO.

****The things I found most relevant in bold****


It will be interesting... (4.00 / 3)
... to see if Snowe reverses course to vote for the bill.  If she's a no on Cloture and the up-and-down vote, she will have no impacts on Conference.  Her "moment" will pass without her.  ;)

I take this as Harry (and probably the majority of the Dems of the Caucus) calling her bluff on wanting to he part of the process.

It's pretty clear Snowe wants to be part of the process, and the White House wants Snowe to be part of the process.  He and the White House's objectives in Committee and now Merger seemed to be to keep the billing from drifting towards the left.  That worked in Committee given the farce Baucus ran.  It hit the wall here, seemingly due to Caucus pressure on Harry.

One suspects that Snowe and the White House wanted her roll in hanging over Conference was to keep the conference report from drifting towards the House Bill.  One would think the White House still wants that, which was a reason she kept getting namedropped on Harry.  If she doesn't vote for cloture and for the Senate bill, she's completely out of the process.

My guess is that it's 50-50 that Snowe will make another speach similar to the one she made in committee, this time from the floor, expressing this is a Moment and that while she doesn't like all of the bill, she must support it and try to help make any changes in conference that need to be made... or at least implying a continuing role, with a shoutout from the White House.

Then it will be fun to watch Nancy and the House confrees to tell her to take a flying fuck.  :)

John


[ Parent ]
No scoring of Triggers (4.00 / 5)
Another interesting fact that I noticed, he will not be submitting the trigger to CBO for scoring.  This will make it very difficult to bring back from the dead as it will require a fresh delay for scoring.

Great sign.


Looking good... (4.00 / 2)
If we get cloture on opt-out in the Senate, IMO, it's a done deal that we'll get it on whatever comes out of conference. I expect something like Shumer's "level-playing-field" is what that will be.

This is a lot better than I could have imagined months ago.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


where will you send (0.00 / 0)
the $50 ?

[ Parent ]
Don't know (0.00 / 0)
Seabook never responded (probably didn't bother following the thread that long.) I'm happy to take suggestions (so long as it's a serious challenge, not some kook like a guy from ANSWER or something).

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
this guy? (0.00 / 0)

I didn't even know he was running for something.


[ Parent ]
How Do These Reporters Get Press Passes!? (4.00 / 3)
1.  Harry looks and sounds very convincing.  He deserves our support, considering the Conservadoms on his side of the aisle.

2.  How many questions about President Olympia Snow?  4, 5

3.  There is no way the CBO's report is going to be a "deal-breaker".  Right now, Orsazg and the rest of the team will put pressure on the CBO.  Not to add, I don't think they would go into negotiations w/ a weak PO.  

4.  Democrats want good Health-Care Reform for the middle-class, so they are going alone--those unpatriotic bastards!!!  Let's not say that the Republicans have no plan, nor give a fucken shit about reform our health-care system.

5. While Schumer is getting a lot of credit for whipping votes, let's not forget Durbin.

6.  Regardless of all the WH news and spinning on this issue, make no mistake:  Reid would not put this in without Obama helping both chambers secure a pretty good bill.  


yes, harry deserves our support if he pushes this through (4.00 / 3)
I said even if I don't like his leadership elsewhere, I will support him if he pushes this

[ Parent ]
Yes, 2014 is confusing (0.00 / 0)
The context of the question was "opt out immediately or after some period of time."  In response, Reid said "they will have until 2014 to opt out."  His phrasing suggests that the ability to opt out would end in 2014 but that makes no sense given the context of the question.  We definitely need some digging on this.


Yea (0.00 / 0)
Politicians never seem to answer the question they are asked.  Reid was asked how soon a state could opt out and instead he said they had "until" 2014.  That said, it certainly sounds like they can opt out right away, but have a deadline.

[ Parent ]
From what I heard (4.00 / 2)
a state cannot opt out after Jan 1, 2014.

I think this was done politically...the opt out will make an important election issue next year for Governors and state legislatures, the former being where the Democrats are weakest at the moment.

How will GOP Gubernatorial candidates hold up in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maine, California, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada if they decide they should opt-out while Democrats say they'll allow the public option?

And by 2014, the next round of competitive gubernatorial elections, it will no longer be an issue


[ Parent ]
so, what happens if a state opts out? (0.00 / 0)
it can opt-in whenever it wants?

[ Parent ]
I cannot imagine putting a no opt-in portion in the bill (4.00 / 1)
though if you had only until 2014 to make your final decision that would go a long way to organizing for victories in those state legislatures.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
Probably still needs to be worked out (4.00 / 3)

 I doubt those details have been ironed out yet.

 Heck, I don't know if I particularly like the opt-out idea per se. But I DO know that this bill has enormously shifted the health-care reform Overton window in a favorable direction, and that is no small achievement, whatever the particulars are.

 I've been as big a critic of Harry Reid as anyone here, but if he can pull this off -- and he seems to think he will -- he should get all the credit in the world.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Yeah (0.00 / 0)
doesn't appear to be anything in the bill that says once you're out, you're out.


[ Parent ]
Reid saying he doesn't need the (4.00 / 1)
WH to lobby for the PO is pretty the most imporant thing I take away from this. That and the fact that the trigger won't be getting scored by CBO, which means Reid isn't seriously looking at it He seemed pretty bullish on the prospects of getting this, and he's someone who doesn't come off that way unless he has the goods.

I guess one positive effect of Reid being so damn cautious all the time (4.00 / 1)
... is that when he actually commits it's pretty much a done deal.

[ Parent ]
Votes (4.00 / 1)
He seemed pretty bullish, but he also never claimed he had the votes.  When asked, he brought up how long Democrats have been working on this.  Clearly, he thinks he can apply the needed pressure to get closure.  He doesn't have a formal whip count of 60, though.  But the way the game works, they are probably just looking for as many concessions as they can get.  Reid understand how the game is played and is confident he can horse-trade accordingly.

Imagine the goodies you can get for your state by promising to only vote no on a proposal your caucus really needs to pass.  Ah... politics.


[ Parent ]
I think (4.00 / 2)
it would be incredibly hard for someone like Blanche Lincoln to blow up this bill. She'd guarantee a loss in the election next year, because Dems would just stay home and the GOP hard right won't vote for her anyway.

[ Parent ]
Start date (4.00 / 1)
So will there be a battle over the date when the public option goes into effect? I believe Obama's speech earlier in the year said 2013, is there any indication that anyone (House, for example) may push for it to begin earlier?

it's open-ended in the Senate I think (4.00 / 1)
because some House Democrats are trying to gradually move it to 2010, but open it to just a few at first, then gradually expand it, to prevent the cost of the bill from skyrocketing.  

[ Parent ]
Stebenow and even Snowe (4.00 / 1)
are trying to push the start date for subsidies and the exchange to be closer to 2010 than 2013. Snowe has even gone on record saying she's even willing for the bill to be more expensive to achieve this, so it's very possible the 2013 problem gets fixed in conference.  

[ Parent ]
It's not a one-shot deal (0.00 / 0)
As I've mentioned before, this is much more than having 60 votes (or not).

There are many permutations. For instance, it's quite possible that all 60 will vote for cloture on the motion to proceed as a partisan vote: Nelson and friends could say they're in favor of health care, and want to see if the bill can be 'improved'; and that they want to get an Obama healthcare bill to the floor.

The leadership will know that this is a line they could take - and therefore a vote against cloture on the MTR would rightly be seen as a gratuitous poke in the eye.

If the PO remains unchanged by the time of the passage vote, the Nelsons could say they'd given the bill a chance, and vote against cloture.

And we still have abortion to raise its ugly head - as I mentioned before, that could give some senators an ideological excuse to vote their moneybags.  


Voting against cloture (4.00 / 2)
I can't help but think that voting against cloture (regardless of their vote on the actual bill) may require more courage than they have.

[ Parent ]
Opt-out of PO and Opt-in to Single Payer? (4.00 / 2)
That'd be pretty nice to have the state single payer amendment in addition to the opt out. The sad part is the stats that most need Single Payer will probably opt out of any PO. (i.e. the south)

Now lets get this out of the way and talk about saving the Earth...

Agitate.Liberate.Create.


The finance bill had this.. (0.00 / 0)
...I presume it has been preserved.  The house bill will have it as well.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Are you sure? (4.00 / 1)
Holy crap. If we get no more opt-out of anti-trust legislation, a public option (and a co-op?) and an opt-in for single payer on a state level, I would be an admiring bloggster.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
I think this is do-able. (0.00 / 0)
I think we need pressure to make this happen. This would be good news, and it follows closely on the opt -out. Its all about choice.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
What The Hell Is Ari Melber Talking About!? (0.00 / 0)
    He is playing the contranian, that Paul discussed in yesterday's journal.  I just don't know where his comment "Harry Reid's big day in the spotlight was a falilure," (paraphrasing) where it was aimed at.  We would all like single-payer Ari, you pompous p--!  Have you been following the debate on this issue.  The legislation will not be excellent and it will have its problems, but give me a break!  What debate have you been following!? Not to add, we still have time to make improvements in the merger of the bills.

short-sighted (4.00 / 3)
I think we're all being a bit myopic about this. We should be popping corks. We're about to pour the concrete and raise the frames on an entirely new country. Obama's election stopped the lumbering rightward drift of this country. And now, we're officially pushing it in the other direction. The progressives/liberals/leftists finally learned how to sell the welfare state to the modern American voter.

In 20 years, people will look back and remember that this was when--after 40 years of decay--New Deal social democracy was reborn in the United States.

If this works, imagine what an engaged citizenry will be asking of their government next:

How about 'we want green manufacturing jobs'?

Or 'dismantle our imperial army'?

'Abolish corporate personhood'?

I think this is only the beginning.


I'll wait until the bill is signed into law (4.00 / 1)
Failure is still a possibility, but this is very good news.

This version of the public option is the absolute lowest level version any progressive supported, but there it is, in the bill.  At this point, I suspect this version will be in the final bill.  Pelosi might be able to get other concessions by submitting a better PO, but I doubt she'll get any movement on the PO itself.


[ Parent ]
I dunno if you're right, (4.00 / 2)
but I like that kinda talk!

[ Parent ]
If Reid pulls this off (4.00 / 2)
that would be great. It would really improve my opinion of Reid, for finally doing the right thing.

Now if only he could figure out how to fast-track more of Obama's judicial nominees, only TWO of whom have been confirmed in 9 months! We have one year to get these folks confirmed, because after Jan. 2011 we may not have 60 votes in the Senate anymore.


Double four on judges. (4.00 / 1)


--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
So this is now the worst the bill will be? (REAL QUESTIONS) (0.00 / 0)
And from now on, its what can the negotiation with the house produce? And the better the house Bill, the better the final Bill? And, this is a real question (they all are actually) after voting for a Senate Bill and passing, they rely on the negotiators to merge with the house?

And pardon me, but then is the merged bill(w/ the house) needing a cloture vote? And finally is there a chance the merged bill can, by tradition, fail in the senate?

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


re: bill (4.00 / 1)
So this is now the worst the bill will be? (REAL QUESTIONS)
And from now on, its what can the negotiation with the house produce? And the better the house Bill, the better the final Bill?

I sure hope so. But I'm not sure. Can they make it worse in Conference to get some bipartisan BS?

And, this is a real question (they all are actually) after voting for a Senate Bill and passing, they rely on the negotiators to merge with the house?

yes

And pardon me, but then is the merged bill(w/ the house) needing a cloture vote?

yes, it can still be filibustered

And finally is there a chance the merged bill can, by tradition, fail in the senate?

yes, if they filibuster the conference report and cloture fails for example


[ Parent ]
Merged Bill (4.00 / 1)
The merged bill will still need 60 votes for closure.  My purely speculative guess is the public option itself won't radically change beyond what Reid submits.

My guess is the real battle will now be funding.


[ Parent ]
Well both the final shape and and in how much can it funded by taxes on the wealthy (0.00 / 0)
And how much is available for subsidies. I have more confidence now, but the devil is still in the details.

"Trust in God," the old arab proverb says, "but tie up your horse." I don't trust any of them, we shouldn't, so these are the areas of concern and where pressure is needed.

That and keeping the opt-in to single payer on a state basis.

--

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky


[ Parent ]
the final vote... (4.00 / 2)
I wonder if the political calculus changes for some of the conservative Democrats in the Senate as the final vote on healthcare draws near?  Once they realize that a bill is going to pass, maybe they will conclude that it's in their best interest to get on board with the side that is winning.  There will be zero political upside to going down in history as one of those who stood against healthcare reform.

That's the logical inversion of... (4.00 / 1)

 ..."I can't vote for a public option because the votes aren't there".

 But who said Senators were logical people?  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
important details left out (4.00 / 1)
Do opt-out states get the same amount of federal money that the opt-in states get to fund the public option?

Are the mandates applicable to opt-out states, given that co-ops will presumably take the place of the public option on the health insurance exchange?

I am not a fan of the opt-out plan, chiefly because I believe it will establish significant inequalities between the opt-in states and the opt-out states--the haves vs. the have-nots.

And it will give the insurance companies a chance to divide and conquer by buying out state legislatures one by one to force opt-outs. Ultimately I expect relatively few states to opt-in, and activists in those states that do opt-in will have had to spend a great deal of effort and money to do so, effort and money that could have been better spent on other issues.


Some answers (4.00 / 3)
I know the answers to some of this.  The public option is national in this plan, so there is no money to the states in terms of funding it.  So in one narrow sense those states loose the money, but not the way you probably meant.

The mandates apply everywhere.  You can't guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions without some form of mandate.  (A single payer tax is a form of mandate, in this context.)  Otherwise, people would just not buy health insurance until they needed it.


[ Parent ]
the funding for the public option (4.00 / 1)
will come mostly from cuts to Medicare Advantage and taxes on "cadillac plans"--i.e., high-end health care plans that actually provide good coverage. Presumably these cuts and taxes will also be federal. In which case you will be taxing people for a benefit that they will be excluded from having if they happen to live in the wrong area, a big no-no.

As regarding the function of mandates, you are leaving out a crucial distinction. In single-payer systems, the purpose of the mandate is to require people to be in the government system. Not just any insurer, specifically the government system.

What is being proposed in this reform is a "mandate" that requires people to buy insurance--any kind of insurance, whether public or private. This mandate makes no distinction between the government and private insurers. Instead, market forces are the factor that's supposed to push people into the government system, over time.  

Without a universally available public option, universal mandates will simply funnel people who can't afford insurance into the waiting arms of private insurers.

Again, that is a problem, because you're forcing people who can't afford insurance to buy a crappy product.


[ Parent ]
Not exactly (4.00 / 2)
Cuts to Medicare Advantage, taxes, etc. will pay for affordability credits/subsidies. The public plan will be paid for by the premiums paid by its participants who may or may not individually be receiving subsidies.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!

[ Parent ]
but nonetheless, you are still taxing people (0.00 / 0)
for benefits they may not receive if they live in the wrong state?

That's the sticking point here.


[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 1)
States cannot opt out of the entire bill, they can only opt out of the public option.  The public option is not paid for with tax dollars.  Only people who purchase the PO pay for it.

So your "sticking point" does not exist.

The only exception is there might be some startup cost that comes from taxpayer money.  I'm unsure of that.


[ Parent ]
thanks for the correction (0.00 / 0)
I withdraw that particular objection, provided that the credits/subsidies that are paid for by tax dollars/spending cuts are available even to the opt-out states.

[ Parent ]
Crucial Distinctions (0.00 / 0)
I left out tons of crucial distinctions between mandates and single payer.  My point was not to compare and contrast them.  My point is simply that you cannot allow people to join in with health insurance payments only after they get sick.  There are many ways to do that.  But if you allow it the system will be even more broke than it is now.

[ Parent ]
I understand the function of mandates perfectly well (0.00 / 0)
without them you cannot insure that the risk is pooled evenly among the healthy and the sick, so you can't provide cost-effective insurance.

But the mandates being proposed won't do that, they only make sure that everyone buys insurance of some kind, whether public or private. But the risk pool for the government plan may be quite different from that for private plans, especially if the private insurers are allowed to cherry pick the healthiest and wealthiest customers and dump the sickest onto the government rolls.

If you want to create a successful public plan, you have to make sure that the government plan has a customer base that contains enough healthy people to make it viable. That is the aim towards which mandates are directed.

Applying mandates to people in opt-out states does nothing towards that goal, and moreover, it forces them to buy a product they cannot afford and which won't benefit them at all. Unless you regulate the private insurers to a far greater degree than has been proposed.

And if on top of that, you're subsidizing them, then you're simply stuffing taxpayer money into the pockets of the insurance industry, without any actual gain to the public.


[ Parent ]
There are rumblings (0.00 / 0)
that some conservatives are planning to challenge the constitutionality of the individual mandate in court.

I will not be particularly sad if it gets struck down, especially if that forces Congress and the WH to enact Medicare for All.


[ Parent ]
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