Chuck Schumer gave a very powerful explanation of his public option amendment today, but it lost anyway by a margin of 10 – 13. Again, all the GOPers, including Olympia Snowe, voted no, as did Democrats Baucus (MT), Conrad (ND) and Lincoln (AR). Democrats control the committee by a margin of 13 – 10.
As with the Rockefeller amendment, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus voted against the Schumer amendment because he doesn’t see how it can get 60 votes on the Senate floor. Here’s an idea: All the Democrats vote for cloture on an underlying bill that includes the public option. Baucus proves over and over that he’s really a fool. It’s pathetic that the White House gave him so much control over the process — and Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina did give Baucus way too much power. (I should say appearance of power. Emanuel and Messina were really more like puppet-masters.)
All hope is not lost. The Finance Committee will finish working on its bill this week. Then, that bill will be joined with the Senate HELP Committee’s bill, which includes a public option. And, there will be a floor fight. But, the Senate Democrats would be wise to include the public option and other strong provisions in their bill before it hits the floor.