The thinkable has happened, and the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that the president must sign the health-care reform bill before the House and Senate can act on a reconciliation package.
Meanwhile, Harry Reid has instructed Mitch McConnell that he intends to pass the sidecar legislation using reconciliation.
And — AND! — there’s a chance that the public option could be included in the House sidecar bill. Ryan Grim:
The public option faces its last stand. With more than 40 senators publicly willing to vote for a health care reform reconciliation package that includes the option, the opportunity to reinsert it into the final bill has never been greater, though the battle is nearly over without having been fought.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democrat in charge of rounding up votes for the health care reconciliation bill, said on Thursday that he will whip support for whatever package comes through the House.
The public option just might get its straight up-or-down vote after all.
Senator Bernie Sanders, in a brief interview in the Capitol just now, confirmed to me that he’s willing to commit to introducing an amendment that would add the public option to the Senate bill’s reconciliation fix.