Chuck Schumer: The Public Option Is Now In Harry Reid's Hands


Chuck Schumer talks to Rachel's fill in Alison Stewart about what the next steps are as negotiations continue on what's in the final version of the health care bill. As Schumer explains, what happens next is in Harry Reid's hands.

Stewart: You called the bill you voted on today “Not ideal but a good bill”. Despite your best efforts the public option was not part of it. Why not?

Schumer: Well, we didn’t have the votes obviously but we are making good progress once again. We never thought we’d win in the Finance Committee but thirty Democrats have signed a letter saying the public option must be in the combined bill. There are many others who are supportive. The four of us in the leadership didn’t sign the letter because they were to the leadership. We’re for it as well and I am very optimistic that we’re going go get a strong public option.

The House is standing firm on public option and I think all of those when they saw the vote in the Finance Committee who thought “Oh it’s over” hadn’t really read the situation correctly.

Stewart: Well, how do you get it done? How does it end up in the final bill?

Schumer: Well, first Leader Reid has the option of putting it in the final bill. If he puts it in the final bill, in the combined bill then you would need sixty votes to remove it and there clearly are not sixty votes against the public option. If… and so we’re urging him to do that and he’s seriously considering it.

Once it passes the Senate if that were to happen, it’s in the House Bill, it’s in the Senate bill and it would have to be in the final product. So it’s very important to see if a public option is in the bill that Leader Reid puts together. He hasn’t yet made up his mind, but many of us who believe in the public option are urging him to do so and so far we’re getting, we’re getting heard.

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