Snowe ‘Deeply Disappointed,’ Says Triggers ‘Could Have Been The Road’ To Broader Bipartisanship

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom
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Is Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) a definite no vote now? In response to the news that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will include a public option (with an opt out clause) in his health care legislation, Snowe says she’s not happy.

“I am deeply disappointed with the Majority Leader’s decision to include a public option as the focus of the legislation,” Snowe said in a statement. “I still believe that a fallback, safety net plan, to be triggered and available immediately in states where insurance companies fail to offer plans that meet the standards of affordability, could have been the road toward achieving a broader bipartisan consensus in the Senate.”

How explicit a statement is that, though? I could be over-parsing here, but it sounds to me as if she’s leaving a door pretty wide open to supporting this bill down the line. Note, she doesn’t say she’s withdrawing her support. And note as well that she says she thinks triggers could have been the path to broader bipartisan consensus–i.e. instead of being the path to just one Republican vote (hers), triggers might have won over a few more GOPers.

She’s said she doesn’t support the opt out. She’s also said it would be very hard for her not to join a Republican health care filibuster under these circumstances. But, despite what Reid said, it’s not clear to me that she’s completely jumped ship.

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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