Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and his merry band of legislators on Tuesday nixed an amendment proposing that a government-backed “public option” be included in Baucus’ contested health care reform plan , using the argument that the public option addition would further diminish the bill’s chances of passing. –KA

The Washington Post:

The panel’s chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and four other Democrats sided with Republicans in opposing a public-option amendment offered by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). Baucus said he voted against the politically volatile provision because he feared that a bill including it would not get the 60 votes it would need to pass on the Senate floor. The committee voted 15 to 8 to reject the amendment.

After the vote, the panel began debating a second public-option amendment introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

“We are going to get at this, and at this, and at this, until we succeed, because we believe in it so strongly,” Schumer said in offering his amendment. He disputed Baucus’s contention that a health-care reform bill including the public option could never pass the Senate, saying the more Americans hear about its benefits, “the more they like it.”

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