[From 'First Draft' at Neon Tommy]: Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) vote for the Senate Finance Committee version of the healthcare bill yesterday may have been a turning point, but Senate Democrats had no time to celebrate.
Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) with gather Democrats from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee (aptly named HELP) and the Finance Committee to merge the two versions of their bills, including making one major reconciliation: the public option. Sen. Snowe supports the option only with a state-by-state trigger, but Democrats are desperate to keep her support.
Lobbyists from the White House are already scuttling about the Hill trying to stir up the 60 votes necessary to prevent Republican filibuster when the bill moves to Senate floor debate. And, of course, everyone on K Street is banging down the doors of centrist Senators, urging them to get a public option in the final bill (or keep it out).
Meanwhile, American viking Erick Erickson of the Red State blog says Sen. Snowe “sold out her country” and invites you to send her this five-pound bag of rock salt – to melt her. Or for the margarita she’ll need when this is all over.