Harkin: Handful Of Public Option Opponents Should Bend To ‘Vast Majority’ Of Dem Party


Here’s another nugget exemplifying the intense pressure Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing from both elected Democrats and grassroots liberals to make sure health care legislation includes a public option.

“There are 52 solid Democrats for the public option,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). “Only about five Democrats oppose it. Should the 52 give in to the five? Or should the five go along with the vast majority of the Democratic caucus?”

Last Thursday, at a heated Democratic caucus lunch, several Democrats rose to give impassioned arguments in favor of the public option. And, with the exception of Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), who gave a counterargument for private co-ops, the handful of public option opponents in the Senate were silent.


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