The Senate's second-ranking Democrat on Monday voiced his support for a petition calling for the public option to be passed using the budget reconciliation process. 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) signed onto the effort backed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC).

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Four other Democratic senators, Patty Murray (Wash.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Ben Cardin (Md.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) also endorsed the petition, bringing the total amount of supportive senators to 30.

"Sen. Durbin has long been a supporter of the public option," spokesman Joe Shoemaker said in a statement. "I don't know whether the votes exist in the Senate right now, but if the House version of the public option came up for a vote in reconciliation Sen. Durbin would vote yes."

Under the reconciliation rules, senators can avoid a filibuster and pass pieces of legislation with a simple majority. Reconciliation rules apply only to measures that relate to federal spending.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has expressed openness to using the controversial tactic to pass a public health insurance option but has not said whether or not he will do so. 

Reid removed the public option from the Senate bill in December after he could not attract enough centrist support to break a filibuster with the plan included in it.

PCCC launched the campaign about two weeks ago hoping to cause a liberal groundwell for the plan, the thinking being the plan could pass if only a simple majority is needed instead of 60 votes.

But other Democratic leaders have indicated that the plan, which divided centrist and liberal Democrats last year, is not currently being considered.

This weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) who is planning the way forward on healthcare with Reid and the White House, has expressed support for the public plan but said Sunday that "there is no public option on the table now."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also said that President Barack Obama did not include a government-run plan in his healthcare proposal last week because it lacked the votes to pass in Congress.