Majority Leader Reid counts his chickens before they hatch

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.