House Democrats will "fight very hard" to revisit the public health insurance option during conference negotiations, said House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) Thursday.
Asked on CNN if Democrats will "revisit" highly contested measures in the bill, such as the public option and abortion language, Clyburn acknowledged they will.
"Absolutely, we are going to do that. That's what the conference is all about,” he said.
Clyburn stressed that House Democrats would “fight very hard” to lobby
for provisions in their bill, which includes a public option, to be
included in the conference report.
"We on the House side are going to fight very hard to make sure that we get competition in the system, that we contain costs, that we provide choices, that we get rid of rejections and rescissions,” he said. “And we're going to be fighting very hard for those positions."
Clyburn’s words come after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) removed the public option from the Senate’s healthcare reform legislation. Reid made the move in part to win the support of centrists whom he needs to invoke cloture on the bill.
The decision to strike the public option and a Medicare buy-in proposal has rankled liberals. Liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Wednesday that he could not vote for the bill.
Meanwhile, centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said on Thursday that the bill’s abortion language is not stringent enough to earn his support.
The House bill also includes the Stupak amendment that Nelson attempted, but failed, to insert into the Senate bill. Clyburn, however, did not mention abortion specifically during the interview.
Clyburn added that the healthcare negotiations are far from over.
“All of a sudden, people are acting as if the Senate happens to be the only game in town. The Senate is not the only game in town,” he said.