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On Tuesday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) issued a press release in which he patted himself and his fellow Democrats on the back for having finally reached a "consensus" on healthcare reform:
This has been a long journey. We have confronted many hurdles, and tonight I believe we have overcome yet another one... tonight [moderates and progressives] have come to a consensus.
It is a consensus that includes a public option and will help ensure the American people win in two ways: one, insurance companies will face more competition, and two, the American people will have more choices.
It seems, however, that Senator Reid's self-congratulations may have come a bit too soon. After Mr. Reid's statement was released, several members of the Democratic Caucus made it clear that no consensus had been reached.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stated:
My position has not changed... I haven't signed on to the proposal.
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said:
There’s no specific compromise. There were discussions.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stated:
I understand that the leadership wants to move this bill forward as quickly as possible. I understand that. But in my view, we have a lot of work in front of us to improve this plan... [I]n my view, the only way we are going to provide comprehensive, cost-effective, universal care is through a single payer.
Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.) is threatening to filibuster if the bill lacks a public option:
If we have to get 60 and it comes back and it does not have a public option in it, I will not vote for it... Understand that I have drawn a line in the sand. I'm not much of a dealmaker in this regard.
And Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) refuses to support any bill that contains a public option:
My opposition to a government-run insurance option, including any option with a trigger, has been clear for months and remains my position today.
When he decided to issue his press release, Senator Reid may have spoken too soon. It seems-- for now at least-- that the only real consensus among Democrats is that there is no real consensus among Democrats.