Reid's 3:15ET Press Conference
by Josh Orton, Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 10:11:32 AM EDT
It'll be on TV - I imagine all the cable news networks will carry it.
There's been a lot of back and forth over the weekend about whether the White House supports Reid's charge for a public option in the Senate base bill. At this point, the kabuki's probably too thick to decipher.
But at 3:15ET, if Senator Reid announces an opt-out public option in his base bill (and I expect he will), it won't matter what the White House preferred last week: everyone will have to get on board with the announced plan and work together.
And as Ezra notes, even if all 60 Dem Senators haven't committed to cloture, the announcement will force their objections out into the open:
Rather than killing the proposal in a back room, moderates who won't vote for cloture will actually have to vote against cloture. That makes them a target in their next election, and ensures a lot of harassment from the left. Reid is, in other words, making it harder -- not impossible, but harder -- for them to oppose the public option. Procedurally, it's a big win for public option advocates.
More work to do, but this will be a big step.
Update [2009-10-26 14:46:28 by Josh Orton]: One more thought: after the press conference, I'll be very wary of any spin that dismisses Reid's move as theatrics designed to mollify his base...it's bs intended to undercut the merits of the public option. In other words: the Village thinks the public option is simply a pet issue of the left, and hence any politician that embraces the policy is just appeasing the left. Bunk.
Update [2009-10-26 14:53:16 by Josh Orton]: This is exactly the type of public-option-undermining spin I'm talking about:
...by making a very public push for the opt out right now, Reid can avoid blame later if it ultimately falls short and if the Senate ultimately goes with the trigger. He can point out rightly that he threw his weight and prestige behind the opt-out first. Just sayin.
Update [2009-10-26 15:34:18 by Josh Orton]: And opt-out it is. Reid says he's not even asking the CBO to score the trigger plan. Best quote from the presser:
"We always look for Republicans. It's just a little hard to find them...I can count the moderate Republicans on two fingers."