Two telling indicators suggest that, despite a true 60 vote majority, the public option may nonetheless face an uphill climb in the Senate. On Friday, during a tele-townhall, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told an audience of constituents that he thinks a "triggered" public option is a "pretty doggone good idea"--not as good as a robust public option, but better than the private co-op proposal that for a time was regarded as a likely compromise between Democrats, who support a public option, and Republicans, who do not support health care reform.
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Today, citing anonymous Democratic sources, the New York Times reports that Reid will likely not include a public option in a final legislative proposal when he merges the Finance and HELP committee bills.
Officially, Reid says it's too early to have decided what will and will not be included in the package he introduces on the Senate floor--the public option will get more than one vote in the Finance Committee this week, and only if it fails (as is expected) will Reid have to decide whether to incorporate it from the HELP bill, or to drop it.