Carper says his public option alternative might not be needed

A new compromise on the public option may not be necessary, the author of that potential compromise said Thursday.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said that the new version of the public option he's been crafting may not be needed if Democratic leaders can get 60 votes for the current proposal senators are debating.

"If we have 60 votes to go to conference, then we don't need an alternative," Carper told reporters at the Capitol.

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Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had asked Carper to work on the potential compromise out of concern that the Senate's current public option, which contains a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, may not have enough votes to survive a filibuster.

"We're not sure whether or not we're going to need a plan B," Carper said during an appearance on Fox News. "A number of the centrists in our party are not interested in government-run, government-funded after some initial startup funding."

Carper said during the interview that while he believes the Senate bill will have a public option (though with a public option "not in all states but in some states"), his compromise merely offers a fallback option.

"If we don't have the 60 votes we can have something else," he said.

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