Schumer to Offer Public Option Amendment Next Week

Posted September 25, 2009 at 8:40am

Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) confirmed Friday morning that he will offer an amendment adding a public insurance option to Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) health care reform bill on Tuesday.Schumer and Finance Subcommittee on Health Care Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) had originally planned to offer the amendment on Friday. But a decision was made late Thursday to delay until next week, when the Senate returns from what will essentially be a three-day weekend in observance of Yom Kippur. The Finance Committee markup of Baucus’ bill was scheduled to gavel in at 9:30 a.m. Friday, and is expected to adjourn for the weekend sometime this afternoon. Yom Kippur begins Sunday at sundown. Baucus’ $900 billion health care package includes a proposal to create nonprofit medical cooperatives — a bid to win the support of moderate Democrats and garner the 60 votes needed for Senate passage. Schumer and Rockefeller conceded Thursday that their amendment is unlikely to win approval, but said they wanted to lay the groundwork for a public insurance option to be included in the final Senate bill.“Tomorrow is the opening day in our big fight, but we’re going to take it all the way down to the wire,— Schumer told reporters in a conference call Thursday evening. “But I will make a prediction: The health care bill that is signed into law by the president will have a good, strong, robust public option.—