Olympia Snowe, who was supposed to provide the 60th Senate vote in exchange for a trigger leading to a public option, now objects so vehemently to the public option that she wants all mention of it stricken from Obama’s speech – and without the public option as the ultimate goal, her trigger option is meaningless. Meanwhile a White House source has indicated that they are moving beyond the Baucus plan. So neither of the alternatives to the public option – Snowe’s trigger and Baucus’ coops – are going to get support either from the White House (which originally had been receptive to them), or the House of Representatives, or from Senate Republicans.
So that takes us back to the public option, which Obama already wanted anyway. The House may well pass a bill with the public option regardless of what happens next, and then dare the Senate to mess with it. In the Senate, Schumer is still planning to use the reconciliation tool: he insists on a strong national public option that is good to go on Day One. Obama still should have 50 votes for the public option too.