The public option is dead. Its successors are dead. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) as much yesterday afternoon. And yet still, there's lingering uncertainty about whether a). the votes are there to pass a health care bill, or, relatedly, b). the bill can pass by Christmas. Here's what would have to happen in the next 9 days to get that done.
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Align the liberals and centrists
Reid's first order of business is to make sure that there are 60 votes committed to pulling this bill past a filibuster (actually, several filibusters, but we'll get to that). On the left flank of his party are three particularly disappointed Democrats: Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Roland Burris (D-IL), and Russ Feingold (D-WI).