Nadler: Liberals prepared to buck Obama, Dem leadership

Liberals in the House are prepared to buck President Obama and House Democratic leaders if they're presented a healthcare bill without a public option.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Monday he is optimistic that any healthcare bill from the House will include a public (or "government-run") option, and are undertaking a whip count to test lawmakers' commitment to that measure.

"The public option is still very much alive only because the progressives have stood together and held our ground and said that, regardless of what the President or Leadership says, we won't vote for any bill [without] a public option," Nadler said in a chat online hosted by the liberal AMERICAblog.

Nadler told the blog that 60 lawmakers had pledged to vote against any healthcare bill lacking the public plan, and that liberal Democrats are "undertaking a whip count now to see how firm these pledges are."

Nadler has been among a coterie of liberal members of Congress to go public with their demands that the White House maintain its support for the public option. Reflecting on those efforts, the Manhattan Democrat struck an optimistic note on the public option.

"I think the chances of the public option of being passed in health care reform are pretty good," he wrote, noting that it depends on the ability of the Congressional Progressive, Black, Hispanic, and Asian Caucuses to hold together, as well as Obama's willingness to lean on Democratic lawmakers.