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Second Public Option Measure Fails in Finance Committee

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday afternoon defeated a public insurance option amendment proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), marking the second time that the panel’s liberal Democrats have failed to add such a measure to Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) $900 billion health care reform package.The Schumer amendment failed on a 13-10 vote, with Baucus and Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) joining all Finance Republicans in opposition. However, Schumer did pick up the support of two Democrats who had opposed the public insurance option amendment offered earlier Tuesday by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) voted in favor of the Schumer amendment, leading the New York Democrat to claim momentum heading into the assumed floor vote that is to come on a final health care reform bill.“I am more optimistic now than I was six hours ago,— Schumer told reporters after the defeat of his amendment.

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