First, as Frates's unnamed lobbyist points out, [Reid] can lose this vote but credibly claim that he went to bat for a pretty good compromise on the public option. Second, it creates consequences for those who want to vote against the public option. Rather than killing the proposal in a back room, moderates who won't vote for cloture will actually have to vote against cloture. That makes them a target in their next election, and ensures a lot of harassment from the left. Reid is, in other words, making it harder -- not impossible, but harder -- for them to oppose the public option. Procedurally, it's a big win for public option advocates.
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