Earlier this week, Roland Burris (D-IL) became the first member of the Senate to definitively say he’ll vote against health care reform legislation unless it includes a public option.
That’s an important development, but, looking at the math in the Senate, it would be a really important development if Burris was saying he’d help filibuster the bill if it omitted a public option. So I asked for a bit of clarification from Burris’ staff, and his spokesman Jim O’Connor said “the Senator was very serious in saying he will vote against any bill that doesn’t include a public option.”
But, he added, “[h]is goal is not to be an obstructionist, but as his statement said, to build consensus among his colleagues for a public option.”
So it doesn’t seem likely that he’d block a health care bill from coming to the floor for a vote over this issue. But he could still pave the way for other liberal senators to take a similarly strong stance. We’ll keep an eye out for that.