Brief of the Week November 2, 2009

‘WAIT AND SEE’ ON HEALTH CARE: Even with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) pushing measures including a public option, not only the shaky House vote count (See Brief at left.) makes the fate in Congress fate of such a major overhaul of health care as unclear as ever. In announcing his plan with public option, Reid told reporters that the bill would permit states to “opt out” of the program (which Ann Coulter discusses on page 6. But the Nevadan suffered an immediate setback when Independent-Democrat Joe Lieberman (Conn.) announced he would vote with Democrats on the “motion to proceed” (meaning against any filibuster), but would then fight the bill containing public option, which he called “another entitlement program that will end up increasing the national debt.” Senate nose-counters say that there are now five Democrats who are currently neutral on Reid’s bill and could end up opposing it: Evan Bayh (Ind.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (both of Arkansas), and Ben Nelson (Neb.)