In an email to The Huffington Post Wednesday night, a spokesman for Harry Reid indicated that the Senate Majority Leader is folding a key health care reform compromise into a larger Manager's Amendment and intends to keep the compromise's details secret until the Congressional Budget Office finishes scoring the full package, a process the spokesman expects to take "a couple of days."
The health care compromise, which was announced Tuesday evening by a group of ten liberal and conservative Democrats and which is intended to secure the 60 votes needed to override a Republican filibuster, reportedly abandons efforts to create a so-called "public option." However, while some contours of the compromise have been leaked, Reid's office has kept the deal's details confidential, even from many senators.
Manager's Amendments usually are offered by a bill's sponsors to propose relatively uncontroversial corrections and changes as debate draws to a close. Reid's plan to incorporate the new compromise into the final Manager's Amendment before releasing any of its details may suggest that he is planning to offer sweeping substantive changes to the current bill -- possibly even including amendments previously rejected by the full Senate. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has even predicted that the Manager's Amendment will include anti-abortion language proposed by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), which was tabled by a 54-45 vote earlier Tuesday but which Reid may feel he needs to re-insert in order to obtain Nelson's support on cloture.
Meanwhile, Roland Burris (D-IL), a progressive, announced late Tuesday that he would not vote to end the Republican filibuster if the amended legislation omits the public option, a move that could derail Reid's ability to find 60 votes to advance the bill even if his Manager's Amendment passes.
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