Written by AIM.org
Dems Close to 60 Votes on Health Care
Leading Democrat Senators feel that they are very close to the 60 votes needed to pass Obama's health care reform legislation.
From the Politico
Senate Democrats are close to obtaining the 60 votes they need to pass a sweeping health care overhaul package, a key Democrat said Sunday.
"I think we're close to getting the 60 votes we need to move forward," said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Schumer said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid - whom he called a "wizard" at counting votes - was rallying support around a bill that would allow states to opt-out of a government-run public-insurance option.
Schumer's comments came as the health care debate enters its final stretch. Democratic leaders are now in intensified talks about what form of a government insurance option will reach the Senate and House floors. Aside from the opt-out track, Democratic leaders are also pondering whether to include a "trigger" mechanism for a public option.
Ben Nelson (D-Nb.), though, said Sunday that he's not committed to vote to kill a GOP filibuster.
"I have made no promise," Nelson said on CNN's "State of the Union." I can't decide about the procedural vote until I see the underlying bill. It would be, I think, reckless to say I'll support the procedure without knowing what the underlying bill consists of. And it's not put together yet. It's a draft - it will be a draft bill some time next week, submitted the Congressional Budget Office for the review of the cost."
Nelson also gave a thumbs-down to the idea of a state opt-out, saying, "I certainly am not excited about a public option where states would opt out or a robust, as they call it, robust government - run insurance plan. I'll take a look at the one where states could opt in if they make the decision themselves."
The Democrats gained some momentum after the CBO scored the Baucus plan as having met Obama's cost parameters but there is still significant opposition to any plan with even the slightest trace of a public option. Forward thinking Democrats who are up for re-election next year face a difficult decision as they try and balance party loyalty with political reality.