Despite all the lies, the smears, the attacks....The latest Times/CBS poll says that 65 percent still support the public option – in fact, support for it jumped 5 points from late August. The teabagger jihad has peaked, and the non-crazy 80 percent of America realizes that the GOP has been lying to them again. (Obama’s approvals are solid at 56 too)
House Democratic leaders will draft the final outline of the House bill Friday, with a written text next week and a floor vote further down the road. Pelosi is pushing hard to the left: she says the final bill will have the public option, and she’s apparently defying the centrists who want her to delay action and to consider Snowe’s trigger option. She seems to see a strong public option as a good idea and also as good leverage against any shillyshalllying by the Senate.
Pelosi is getting a smidge of help from her opponents, the Blue Dogs, who are now split on the public option issue, and are in fact more energized on other issues such as costs and the pace of work in the Senate. Pelosi could get more Blue Dogs on board by giving them the deal they want on Medicare rates, but the CBO scoring suggests it’s a bad idea and Pelosi doesn’t like it much either. The Medicare issue will be decided by the House leadership; if Pelosi senses that she doesn’t need to bag a few more Blue Dogs, the Medicare issue will go overboard.
Shockingly, the Senate Finance Committee won’t be finished with their work this week as advertised – too much GOP obstruction and Democratic footdragging. The Committee will, in fact, vote on the public option tomorrow, but don’t get your hopes up (boy do the Republicans want to beat the public option just once!). CNN claims the public option is a dealbreaker in the Senate, but Schumer and Rockefeller say the plan will have the public option by the time it gets to the President’s desk (although maybe not in the Finance bill or the first Senate bill), and Sherrod Brown says that even if not all Democrats prefer the public option, they have 50 Senate votes for it, and that no Democrat will vote against cloture (Nelson is of course playing coy on that issue, and Conrad is also scary). And no Democrat has said flat-out they would oppose the public option no matter what, so attaining cloture is presumably doable also.
The Democrats do, in fact, have 60 Senate seats. Reid is going ahead with the swearing-in of Kirk, ignoring the threats of lawsuits from Massachusetts Republicans. The Washington Republicans are not contesting the appointment, and in fact they can’t because his appointment papers are in order.