The man tasked with counting the votes for Democrats in the Senate told reporters on Friday that the caucus was still considering health care reform that included a public option "triggered" by economic conditions.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), in a conference call organized by Families USA, made no commitments regarding what proposal the party would ultimately settle upon. But he stressed that his preference remains a public plan.
But, in an admission that will be disheartening to his fellow progressives, the Illinois Democrat did note that leadership was engaged in "serious negotiations" on "a variety of different ideas." And with the goal of getting 60 votes to fend off a Republican filibuster, the senator said that the party was still looking at Senator Olympia Snowe's (R-ME) favorite proposal as a means of passing legislation.
"The trigger was originally Senator Snowe's idea and I don't think it has been abandoned," said Durbin. "We hope to bring her into the column of supporting this before this is over. So, it is not off the table. But there are many different conversations out there. There were conversations last night... within our own caucus, both the progressive side and the conservative side, trying to find what would be acceptable."