Emanuel Backtracks From ‘Trigger’ Comments; Dem Says CoS Made “Hell Of A Mistake”

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July 8, 2009 5:05 a.m.

After sparking progressive outrage, and sending the White House into damage control mode, a chastened Rahm Emanuel appeared before House Democrats yesterday to reassure them that the administration stands foursquare behind a public option.

At the meeting, House liberals warned Emanuel that he couldn’t count on them to vote for a bill that contains a triggered public option. “We have compromised enough, and we are not going to compromise on any kind of trigger game,” Woolsey apparently told Emanuel. “People clapped all over the place. We mean it, and not just progressives.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said Emanuel assured him that “he doesn’t stand by [the] trigger.”

But all may not be forgiven and forgotten. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, said the Chief of Staff “”made a hell of a mistake. He made a hell of a mistake and he knows it.”

Meanwhile, across the Capitol, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid laid down the law, urging Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to walk away from his efforts to reach bipartisan consensus on health care reform–specifically, to advance a bill with a public option, and financed without taxing workers’ health benefits. It’s unclear as of now how closely the two major developments are connected.

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