Bill Nelson comes out for public option, now 41 Senators in favor with 50 in sight

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Mar 10, 2010 at 16:38

Bill Nelson is in favor of passing a public option through reconciliation:

Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) became the 41st senator to say that he would back the public insurance option as part of a health care bill moved through reconciliation.

Nelson, asked by HuffPost if he would vote for a public option on the Senate floor, was unequivocal. "Yes," he said firmly. "I've already voted for it in the committee, in the Finance Committee."

Two big implications for the Senate whip count:

1. On Reconciliation
That makes 54 Senators publicly open to using reconciliation to finish health reform.  It is actually 55 if you trust Joe Lieberman, which no one should.

Only Blanche Lincoln is opposed.  Kay Hagan, Mark Warner and Jim Webb have not taken a stance.

2. On the public option
That makes 41 Senators in favor of passing a public option through reconciliation.  Additionally, Tom Harkin, Claire McCaskill and Herb Kohl all support the public option, and support reconciliation, but just haven't stated they would support a public option in reconciliation.  So really, the number of public option supporters is 44.

Back in 2009, the other supporters of some sort of non-trigger public option were Robert Byrd, Tom Carper, Kay Hagan, Paul Kirk, Jay Rockefeller, Mark Warner, and Jim Webb.  Additionally, there were three other possibilities who we never nailed down one way or the other: Max Baucus, Mark Begich, and Mark Pryor.

We would need six of those ten to pull it off.  Kirk is no longer in the Senate, and Rockefeller now claims to be opposed.  However, I still think we can get Rockefeller to vote in favor if it comes up for a vote.  Would such a strong support kill the public option if the House sent the Senate a reconciliation bill with one?

All in all, while a longshot, it does actually seem possible to reach 50 on the public option again.  But the House has to send the Senate a bill with a public option in it for this to work.

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Chris Bowers :: Bill Nelson comes out for public option, now 41 Senators in favor with 50 in sight

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Then lets make this our job, and cross post the need for pressure on the house to pas a PO (4.00 / 3)
But the House has to send the Senate a bill with a public option in it for this to work.


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

Honestly, the bigger problem looks like the House now... (4.00 / 1)
While the House passed a form of the PO before with the terrible Stupak language, it seems like it'll be basically impossible to get a PO through again, without the Stupak language, even if the Senate appears to support it.

Call me a cynic, but I think a lot of these Senators "support" the PO because they figure that it won't pass, but hopefully I'm wrong.

no, you're right (0.00 / 0)
it seems for a very large number of Democrats, including the President, the line is:

"I think the public option is a great idea, but it's not practical, but I would vote for it if enough of my colleagues supported, but they don't, but really, I think it's great."

[ Parent ]
I was going to say this too! (0.00 / 0)
The real problem right now is that asshat Stupak and his dirty-dozen. Diana DeGette, chairwoman of the pro-choice caucus sent a letter signed by 40 members stating they wouldn't vote for the final bill if it contained language restricting abortion beyond what federal law is right now.

If they go back on that to get a health-care bill passed that would be a terrible day for America. It's Stupak who needs to be broken, not the rest of the Congress.

Every one of those 12 ought to be thrown out of the Democratic caucus if they refuse to vote for the final bill because of abortion language! Let them try and run as Republicans like that asshole party switcher in AL who just got P'ned by the Tea-baggers with a primary challenge after he tried to become a Republican.

[ Parent ]
I agree with you (0.00 / 0)
This is kind of like last year, when more than 50 said they supported the public option because they knew it wouldn't get 60.

It costs them nothing to give progressives a pat on the head now and say they support adding a public option through reconciliation. Harkin and Rockefeller have already signaled it's going nowhere.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
What do the Stupak people want, exactly? (0.00 / 0)
If they want more restrictive abortion language they're not gonna get it this way, since it doesn't fit under reconciliation.  The Senate should try to pass a stand-alone Stupak abortion bill.

This could be a deal with the devil, but maybe some liberal Senators can agree to vote for a Stupak abortion bill if the Stupak people agree to vote for a public option (or Medicare for All, even).

[ Parent ]
... (0.00 / 0)
At least talk Stupak into accepting the Nelson language and then telling him they will put it up for a vote in a third bill.  

[ Parent ]
... (0.00 / 0)
I just don't understand why the nelson language isn't good enough... is this just an ego thing?

This is where I wish we had a Delay type figure in the house to bust heads.

[ Parent ]
More than I ever got from him (4.00 / 1)
and it took myltiple efforts to get the statement I did from him.

I worry that Nelson is for it because he doesn't think it will happen.

Good news, though.

"It is actually 55 if you trust Joe Lieberman, which no one should." (0.00 / 0)

Durbin and Reid Whipping Against Public Option (0.00 / 0)

Trying to use Republicans as an excuse.  Been there, done that when "no amendments" were allowed by Pelosi to stop Stupak--except oops Bart Stupak's was allowed in.  It's another excuse to protect Obama's deals.

they should just put it in the damn bill (0.00 / 0)
If there are 50 votes for it, include it in the damn bill. That way you have the Public option and you don't have to make any amendments.

[ Parent ]
Called Sen. Hagan's DC office (0.00 / 0)
The staffer was 100% in support of reconciliation AND the public option, but didn't reveal whether the Senator felt the same way.


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