Durbin: Progressives Forced Our Hand On The Public Option

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A helpful data point for liberal legislators and progressive activists: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)–the Democrats’ main vote counter in the Senate–says that the public option-plus-opt out clause was a pragmatic choice. Liberals wouldn’t have supported anything less.

Durbin told Ryan Grim of Huffington Post and a handful of other reporters that Reid may very well have chosen to put Olympia Snowe’s trigger compromise in the bill “[i] we thought that just putting the trigger in meant that we’d end with 61 votes.”

But they, apparently didn’t. Some in the party made clear that they “felt that that just didn’t go far enough moving toward a public option,” said Durbin.

Undoubtedly progressives will see today’s development as a validation of their intense activism–pressure that wasn’t always appreciated by Democratic party elders.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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