Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Harkin: Public option can pass Senate by ‘comfortable’ margin
Not only is U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin claiming that he has the votes necessary to pass a health care reform bill with a public option in the U.S. Senate, but that he has a ‘comfortable’ majority to do so.
Harkin, who recently took over as the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, asked The Bill Press Radio Show, “Why shouldn’t we have a public option?”
“We have the votes,” Harkin said.
Because four of the five health care reform bills proposed in both the U.S. House and Senate contain a public option, Harkin said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) should include the public plan when the chamber begins to merge the proposals offered by the HELP and Senate Finance Committee bills.
“Those in the minority can offer amendments to take it out, and then we’ll see where the votes are,” Harkin said.
In short, Harkin believes that the full Senate should have an opportunity to vote on the public option — something he believes will ultimately be included in reform because Democrats will be able to produce 60 votes to break any filibuster attempts.
Once the U.S. Senate merges the reform bills from its two committees, and the U.S. House merges a final bill from its three committees, the final versions from both chambers will head into a conference committee where a final Congressional bill will be established. Once that process is complete — something Harkin believes will be complete before Christmas — the bill will be sent to Pres. Barack Obama for his signature.