Today Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid asking him to push through a government-run health care plan through the reconciliation procedure. The idea had been circulating in liberal circles, as they argue that the government plan would reduce the deficit, and thus could be justified under reconciliation. In reality, Democrats are already facing a steep uphill climb to pass a health care bill, and it’s highly doubtful that a majority of Senators would want to refight the battle over the public option even if it were theoretically possible to do through reconciliation (also highly doubtful).
In other reconciliation news, ex-Senate parlimentarian Robert Dove explains to the Hill why reconciliation won’t work for health care. Most relevant to the public option talk:
The parliamentarian can rule any provisions as “incidental” and remove it from the bill if he or she judges that its purpose is to write new policy not simply to alter the federal budget. “The ‘incidental’ test is a very difficult test because it is very subjective,” Dove said. “You are trying to judge peoples’ motives,” he said.