Jon Tester confirms to Chris Bowers that he’d vote for Chuck Schumer’s "level playing field" public option:
This pushes the Senate whip count to 51, even without Joe Biden casting a tie-breaking vote.
Since there are now finally 60 active, voting Democrats, it is possible to break any Republican filibuster. Hell, it actually only requires 51 votes to break a filibuster, if Senators were more honest about process. Further, if they didn’t even want to both with filibusters, they could always just go with reconciliation, since Tester now gives them enough votes even if Robert Byrd (who is opposed to using reconciliation for health care) defects.
Senate Democrats have the votes. No more process excuses. Pass the public option.
So there are now enough votes to pass a public option in the Senate. It may not be a great public option, but the notion that we "don’t have enough votes" just exploded. On the other hand, not one single member of the Democratic caucus who said they oppose a public option says that their vote will change with the opt-out. Nor have they admitted that they would take the historically unprecedented step and join a Republicans in a filibuster.
Somebody explain to me again why the veal pen is pushing the "opt-out cop-out" that gives the insurance industry such a big happy?