Voices of Power Transcript: Jay Rockefeller

Sen. Jay Rockefeller discusses his bottom line on heath care reform.
Friday, October 16, 2009; 9:02 AM

LOIS ROMANO: Welcome, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, a longtime leading voice in favor of health-care reform. Thanks for joining us today.

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thanks a lot, Lois.

ROMANO: You are a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which voted out yesterday their version of the bill.

A month ago, you said you could not support this version of the bill because, among other things, it didn't have a public option, government-run option.

What changed your mind?

ROCKEFELLER: What changed my mind was, one, that we tried hard. I put up my version of the public option in the committee for a vote and it got eight votes. That's called "not enough."

And then, Chuck Schumer put up his, which was softer, and it got ten votes. Not enough votes.

So, I then immediately went on to the next process, because the process becomes important in this.

Right now, Teddy Kennedy's old committee and Max Baucus and Harry Reid in the White House are meeting and they're putting together a bill, and it could be an entirely new bill. And I have strong hopes that a public option is going to be in that bill, and if it is, it will take 60 votes to remove it.

Kind of fun, isn't it? We're the ones that have always been trying to get 60 votes, now they'll have to get 60 votes to remove.

You know, Harry Reid will, you know, make the final decision on it.

But I know the president is for it. I know Chris Dodd is for it. Max Baucus didn't speak against it. He just talked about the need to get 60 votes. 'I can't do it because I have to get 60 votes.' Well, if they do it there, he doesn't have to get 60 votes. So, we'll get it.

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