Reid Narrows In on 60 Votes for Public Option

Landrieu and Lieberman agree not to block opt-out plan
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2009 9:25 AM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, accompanied by Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Patrick Leahy, speaks during a news conference on health insurance companies, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – Harry Reid closed in on the 60 votes he needs to pass a health reform bill with a public option yesterday, aided by 2 Democratic moderates who pledged not to filibuster the vote. Both Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman said they wouldn't block the bill, which offers a public insurance option that states could opt out of. Another Democratic fence-sitter, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, signaled that he might support the opt-out plan.

Reid could still switch from an opt-out to an opt-in, or "trigger" plan, to win a yea vote from Sen. Olympia Snowe, his best hope among Republicans, before the bill comes to a vote as early as Tuesday, Politico reports. In a White House meeting Thursday, Obama appeared to favor the trigger plan.