Hoyer: ‘I’m for a public option, but I’m also for passing a bill.’

hoyerYesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said at a news conference that “there’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option.” But Pelosi’s refusal to back down on the issue was undermined a bit today by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who said that while he supports the public option, he was open to abandoning it to get a bill passed:

Hoyer (D-Md.) emphasized his support for a public option in a teleconference call with reporters, but also said he wants to ensure Congress sends a bill to the president.

“I’m for a public option, but I’m also for passing a bill,” he said. Democrats believe the public option is necessary, he said, “but we’ll have to see.”

He added that there are many other important parts of healthcare legislation approved by three committees in the House.

Hoyer’s comment echoes HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ recent claim that the public option is “not essential,” which the Obama administration has aggressively sought to walk back.