Grassley not confident public option is dead

A day after the Senate Finance Committee defeated two public option amendments, one of the plan’s staunchest opponents said he believed the so-called government plan was far from dead.

“No, I don’t have confidence that we can keep public option out on the floor of the Senate,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking member, told reporters during press conference on Wednesday. “I hope we can. I intend to fight to do that. … But I just don’t know, because I haven’t talked to enough people outside of the committee.”

Grassley’s skepticism arrives at a time when the public option’s key proponents are clamoring aggressively for votes. The odds, so far, are hardly favorable: Although House Democrats believe they can solicit sufficient support for the proposal, Senate Democrats are not as confident. A handful of the party’s key moderates on the Finance Committee even voted Tuesday against the pair of public option amendments, further casting doubt on the provision’s future.

Ultimately, Grassley said he could not predict whether the public option would return once his committee sent its bill to the Senate floor. He did, however, reiterate his opposition to it, later calling its inclusion a deal-breaker.

“Yes, it’s been that way since I was at the White House with the president,” Grassley said.

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