By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger
Today, the Senate Finance Committee will consider amendments that would add a public option to the highly contested bill. Committee members Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) seek to force their colleagues into an up or down vote on the public option.
As Robert Reich explains in Salon, the Finance Committee vote is a crucial juncture for the public option. Other committees have already passed bills with strong public options, but the White House has signaled that the Finance Committee’s version will get disproportionate weight in shaping the final bill that both houses of Congress will ultimately vote on.
In AlterNet, Bill Scher reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he won’t send a bill with a public option to the full Senate, even if the Finance Committee were to pass one. On the other hand, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that the House won’t pass a bill without one. So, there’s clearly a lot of horsetrading left to do, even if the Finance Committee approves a public option.
No one knows for sure if the senators have the vote to pass the amendments, but the the debate will be heated. Stay tuned: The Uptake is broadcasting the hearing live today, starting at 10 a.m. EST. (See above video)
While the legislative process grinds on, Democracy Now! reports that a pro-single-payer group called Mad As Hell Doctors is staging sit-ins at insurance company offices around the country.
Check the Pulse tomorrow for analysis of the Finance Committee’s vote.
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