Schumer's public option amendment defeated

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected a second amendment that would have added a public option to Chairman Max Baucus' (D-Mont.) healthcare reform bill.

Committee members defeated the initiative, offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), on a close 13-10 vote. Three Democrats -- Kent Conrad (N.D.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and chairman Baucus -- sided with their Republican colleagues, who voted in lockstep against the proposed government plan.

But Schumer's effort was the second of two public option amendments the committee killed on Tuesday. The first, offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), would have authorized a more robust public plan that tied doctors' reimbursement rates to Medicare. However, that amendment was easily defeated on an 8-15 vote earlier in the afternoon.

Hours later, two Democrats who initially voted against Rockefeller's proposal -- Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Tom Carper (Del.) -- reversed their positions in support of Schumer's amendment, which differed from his colleague's work in that it did not tie reimbursement rates to Medicare. Yet, Schumer's substantive revision was still not enough to quiet both parties' concerns and advance a public option.