In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Progressives Prepare to Pressure Reid to Include Public Option in Senate Health Care Bill


"If Harry Reid does not have the leadership skills to get 60 votes for cloture and give a Democratic president an up-or-down vote on health care, progressives will help defeat him in 2010, even if that means Republicans take that seat," said the head of one progressive organization, who's still working out the detail of the campaign. "There is no use for Reid's vote if 60 Democratic votes means nothing on cloture, and no use for Reid's leadership if his leadership is so blatantly ineffective."

That might not be such a troubling threat if Reid, who's up for re-election in 2010, wasn't suffering at the polls.

Leadership, which will work with the chairmen of both the Finance and HELP committees, along with White House officials, when it cobbles together the final bill, says its main concern is ensuring that any bill that reaches the floor has 60 votes for cloture. And though that would likely be easier in absence of a public option, conservative Democrats and Republicans would still be able to have their say by introducing an amendment to strip it from the bill. That amendment would also likely require 60 votes, and would almost certainly fail. But it would give skeptics a chance to go on the record.

A call to Reid's office for comment on the coming ads was not immediately returned.

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