Rockefeller Doubles Down on Public Option Opposition

Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D-WV) is reiterating that he’s opposed to passing the public option through reconcilliation at this time. This remains odd, because to this point Rockefeller has been arguably the biggest champion of the public option in the Senate. This reinforces, I think, the idea that the major players just don’t think they have the votes for the public option, and while much of the attention on that question has been focused on the Senate, the more I think about it, the more I think the House may be the real impediment. Basically, you need to get 217 votes at the moment to pass anything, and while the healthcare bill passed with 220 votes the first time, Robert Wexler has retired, Jack Murtha died, and Jospeh Cao has joined the rest of the GOP in opposition. That leaves you with 217 before you account for Bart Stupak or anyone else who isn’t happy with the Senate’s abortion related language. So basically, any bill that passes the House right now is going to have to get a vote from a handful of Democrats who voted “no” the first time, and they might not be willing to support a public option. That seems like the most likely roadblock at the moment to me.

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