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With Health Reform At Stake, Senators Scramble To Reach Public Option Compromise

Newscom / Jason Reed

"There are a number of us that are for a strong public option. There's those that aren't," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) told me. "Somewhere we'll meet in the middle.

"We are all in direct conversations about this," said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). "Now it's come to a head."

"It's an informal, but aggressive...individual and small group discussions with a variety of different senators with different viewpoints to try to find a place of principled compromise," Landrieu said.

According to Landrieu, the focus right now is on a version of a proposal, first proposed by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and modified by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), to attach the public option to a trigger.

"What I could support is something like a competitive community option...which would be triggered," Landrieu said. "Various moderates have slightly different versions of that."

"That's where the discussion is right now," Landrieu added. "There has to be a decision soon."

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