The first big showdown on whether the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare bill will include a public option has been pushed back to next week, as Democrats try to work out a schedule for voting on amendments on the issue -- and, possibly, an agreement to get some form of public insurance plan into the legislation.
"We're going to try to work out an accomodation on how we vote on them and how we deal with them," Sen. Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who chairs the Finance panel, said Friday morning. Votes on amendments to add a public option were scheduled for Friday, but the committee decided to take more time to try to figure out how to handle the plan.
The committee won't be in session Monday, which is Yom Kippur. (Because, clearly, you can't ask Kent Conrad to work on Yom Kippur.) But Baucus expects to bring up the public option early Tuesday.
"I want to bring that up soon; it's an extremely important amendment," Baucus said. "We don't have time to do all that today."
That's mostly because the panel plans to adjourn around noon, but who can blame them? After all, working long hours can be hazardous to your health.