Liberal Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the most vocal supporters of creating a government-run public option health insurance program, affirmed that he will vote in favor of the Senate healthcare reform bill even though his priority has been stripped out.

"We're going to vote for cloture. We're going to pass it," Brown said Tuesday on MSNBC. "We're doing most of the right thing. This is a good bill," he said, noting that it would extend health coverage to more than 30 million people and enact strict new insurance market reforms and consumer protections.


On Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and evidently most Senate Democrats concluded the surest way to passage of their bill was to give in to the demands of centrists such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) by stripping out the public option and a proposal to allow people between 55 and 64 years old to buy into Medicare.

Brown seemed to endorse this strategy. "This is about getting 60 votes, unfortunately. I think we do now."

For Brown and other liberals like Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) who have spent this year fighting to keep the public option in the bill and, at times, threatening to oppose the legislation without one, a vote to advance the measure will mark a stark reversal.

“There’s no negotiations, as far as I’m concerned,” Brown said two weeks ago. “We’ve compromised the public option three times -- maybe four depending on how you define it -- and this bill’s not going to continue to become more pro-insurance-company. End of story.”

But the liberals so appear to be falling in line behind their leadership and President Barack Obama, who is hosting Senate Democrats at the White House today to urge them not to let their disappointments about the public option and other issues stop them from voting on the first major healthcare reform bill ever to reach the Senate floor.

Immediately after a meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus Monday evening, Rockefeller declared he, too, would back a compromise bill without a public option. "How could I not vote for the bill?," he said during the meeting, according to his account to reporters.

Even Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who even last week threatened to oppose or even filibuster a bill that lacked a public option, created some space for himself to vote for the bill during remarks on the Senate floor Monday evening. "I am committed to voting for a bill that achieves the goals of a public option," he said.