Submitted By Todd on December 19th at 1:54pm
"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to announce the deal.There are some other senators who may still present challenges, but odds are against angry liberals like Russ Feingold or Roland Burris blocking the legislation from moving forward.
Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with Nelson on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. But Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.The plan is to have the bill passed before Christmas. Nancy Pelosi has indicated that a reconciled measure merging the senate and house versions should be ready for a vote by the time of the President's State of the Union address in January.
Asked if he was prepared to support the bill, Nelson said, "Yeah."As expected, the Public Option which the President and fellow Democrats fought to include over the last 8 months is gone.
Instead of a public option, the final product would allow private firms for the first time to offer national insurance policies to all Americans, outside the jurisdiction of state regulations. Those plans would be negotiated through the Office of Personnel Management, the same agency that handles health coverage for federal workers and members of Congress.Harry Reid submitted the amendment this morning, which is being read aloud as a delaying tactic at the request of Republicans.