President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Democrats this afternoon, to build momentum as they enter the final stretch on far-reaching health care legislation. The rare visit to Capitol Hill comes as liberals and conservatives in his party clash over the contentious issues of abortion, and, especially, the public option.
Liberals, like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) would like to see the President encourage moderates to support the health care bill in its current form. Conservative Democrats, meanwhile, are hostile to the public option and are threatening to filibuster the bill if it's not modified or removed. The two factions are currently discussing various compromises, including a variation on the "trigger" compromise, and a new initiative--distinct from a government insurance plan--which would give the federal government the power to negotiate private insurance premiums for some consumers.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is currently huddling with his leadership team, and White House officials, and the two sides of his caucus will meet late this afternoon, after the President's visit, to continue negotiations. The flurry of activity suggests real developments are afoot. We'll let you know what happens.