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September 14th, 2009 12:35 pm
Snowe and Collins Oppose Public Option

Senator Olympia Snowe, one of three Republicans who have been negotiating with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on a health care reform compromise, is urging the President to take the public health insurance option “off the table.”  On CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday, Snowe said Obama “should take it off the table.”

In addition, Senator Susan Collins is out there claiming that she wouldn’t even support a “trigger” for the “public option,” an idea floated by Democrats last week.  Collins correctly argues, “The problem with the trigger is it just delays the public option.”

Senate Democrats have been courting both Senators in an effort to pass a bipartisan bill – something that will be next to impossible without Snowe and Collin’s support.  Without any Republican support, Democrats may have to resort to the nuclear option of the health care debate, which is to use budget reconciliation rules, if they insist on a public option as part of a final package.   Budget reconciliation would only require 51 votes for passage. 

Following the taxpayer uproar, including the protests over the weekend, they may want to think twice about that.

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