In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama didn’t include a public option in his health care plan because it doesn’t have the votes to pass.
“We have seen obviously that though there are some that are supportive of this, there isn’t enough political support in a majority to get this through,” Gibbs said today, according to Sam Stein. “The president … took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday.”
The White House released Obama’s new proposal this week ahead of a bipartisan health care summit planned for Thursday.In a renewed push to pass a public option, 23 senators have signed a letter urging leadership to do so via reconciliation — which would require the support of 50 senators. It is still very unclear whether the letter will get 50 signatures.
A Senate leadership aide told TPMDC last week that in order to get the votes for a public option, Democrats would need strong, explicit support from the White House.
Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is pushing the letter, released a statement immediately after Gibbs’ comment.
“The White House obviously has a loser mentality — but America rallies around winners,” Green said. “Polls show that in state after state, voters hate the Senate bill and overwhelmingly want a public option, even if passed with zero Republican votes. … That’s why Democrats in Congress should ignore the White House and follow those like Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez who know that the public option is a political and policy winner.”