Leading House progressives say that if Democrat Martha Coakley loses her bid for Senate in Massachusetts next week, that may well be it for health care reform.
"I believe that to be true," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), House progressives' point person on health care reform. "I think there are enough people who see such severe problem with the [Senate] legislation," that they can't vote for it under any circumstances.
In a brief interview with TPM, I asked Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) whether he could be persuaded to vote for the Senate bill if it became clear that that was the only way to pass reform. "I would not vote for the Senate bill as it is, period," he told me.
The other option would be to squeeze a series of votes in the House and Senate through a narrow window between election day next Tuesday, and the day Scott Brown (hypothetically) is sworn in.
As I noted earlier this week, if Coakley loses her election next week, leaving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid one shy of the 60 votes he needs to pass a revised, final health care bill, Democrats could still advance reform by passing the Senate bill in the House word for word. But that option may exist only in theory.