Liberal caucus leader will introduce new public option bill

A leader of the House liberals' caucus said Monday she'll introduce new legislation to revive the public option.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), the co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she plans to unveil legislation to add the government-run option to the national healthcare exchange established by legislation President Barack Obama is to sign tomorrow.

"We will introduce a robust public option bill on the very day the president signs the reconciliation bill into law," Woolsey said Monday during an interview on MSNBC.

The public insurance option had been a part of the healthcare legislation first approved by the House in November, but Senate Democratic leaders were forced to abandon the provision after it became clear that they wouldn't be able to get all 60 Democrats (at the time) to sign onto legislation containing that provision.

Woolsey and her co-chairman of the caucus, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), had pushed for the public option throughout the different stages of the health debate, but still ended up voting in favor of the legislation in the end, despite some threats to do otherwise earlier in the process.

Some Senate Democrats, like Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), have spoken of revisiting the public option down the line, too.

And although it's not clear whether the votes are there to advance such a measure, Woolsey said she'd seen some enthusiasm for her measure.

"Every single member who I've mentioned to reintroducing the robust public option has said, 'Sign me on,'" she said.

The California congresswoman's effort could be compared in a way to Republican efforts emerging Monday. A number of House and Senate GOP lawmakers have gotten behind bills to repeal the bill, which was passed Sunday night.

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