Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) declared on Sunday that the health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives would be "dead on arrival" in the Senate, in part because his friend and colleague, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), wouldn't go "anywhere near" it.
"The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate," Graham told CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just look at how it passed. It passed 220 to 215. It passed by two votes. You had 39 Democrats vote against the bill. They come from red states, moderate Democrats from swing districts. They bailed out on this bill. It was bill written by liberals for liberals and people like [Sen.] Joe Lieberman are not going to get anywhere near the House bill... it is a non-starter in the Senate."
"Let me tell you why Joe feels that way and I do [too]," Graham added. "I think the public option will destroy private health care."
The Senate, of course, will never actually vote on the House's health care legislation. They still must consider a version of their own before going to conference committee with the House and voting on a revised version of the bill. All of which makes Graham's narrow point moot. Still, at some point down the legislative road, the chamber does seem likely to weigh in on a public option. And this is where the South Carolina Republican's "dead on arrival" pledge will be tested.
Appearing alongside Graham, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) would not say if the 60 votes were there to cut off a Republican filibuster on a public plan.
"We are far from the end of the debate in the Senate," he said. "It will take time. It will be careful, thorough and deliberate. I hope that the public option is part of the final bill.
"I think there is a discussion, about as Senator Snowe [R-Maine] suggested, a trigger to the public option, Senator Reid [D-Nev.] has suggested an opt-out by the states," he added. "There is a debate, an active debate about how the pubic option might come about."