Progressive Caucus leader: Public option 'very well could' be revived

There's a good chance the Senate could muster enough votes to revive the public option, a House liberal leader said Saturday.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, asserted that there "very well could be" a reemergence of the controversial, government-run insurance plan.

"Certainly the reconciliation process, which is democracy with fifty-plus-one votes in order to pass something, is probably the best way to go on this," Woolsey said Saturday during an appearance on Fox News. "It could and should include the public option."

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that he intends to proceed with health reform in the next 60 days using the budget reconciliation process, a maneuver allowing him to pass changes to the Senate's initial health bill using a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

Reid's office has signaled openness to pursuing the public option through that process, as some Democratic House and Senate members have called for, if the support is there.

Woolsey said the support for such a move is growing, and could result in enough Senate votes.

"It's growing every minute that the day goes on, and I think there very well could be 51 votes in the Senate for the public option," she said.

20 Democratic senators have signed onto that effort so far, according to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).

Woolsey said that members of the Progressive Caucus had reached out to Senate leaders on the matter, and that senators are working toward cobbling together the votes needed.

"They're working on it right now. We have the votes in the House for the public option, so it really does depend on the senators," she said. "The Progressive Caucus reached out to them last week. They're on their way, and they'll find out if they have 51 votes, the Senate will go forward."