Once shunned, Senator Burris is now key player in health care debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic Senator, shunned by some members of his own party who were reluctant to even seat him, may now be a key player in the health care debate.

For months, Democrats avoided Illinois Sen. Roland Burris because of his ties to now-disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY’-uh-vich).

Now, they need him, and every other Democratic senator, plus the two independents, to stave off Republican fillibuster attempts when a health care bill reaches the floor of the Senate, possibly this week.

Burris insists there’s one thing he won’t compromise on — the need for a public insurance option in the bill. He says he won’t support any bill that doesn’t have it.

Democrats need 60 votes to override GOP objections and Burris’ stated position on the public option means that Democrats can not take his vote for granted.

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