Wait. What? What's in a Calendar?

So I have been on an emotional roller coaster the past few days. One thing is for certain, I cannot, in good conscience support this new Senate bill that delivers to the Murder by Spreadsheet industry 30 million new, captive customers on a legal mandate. On the other hand, I am also not sure that I can oppose a bill that expands health insurance to 30 million people, has a patient's bill of rights, and puts on the insurance companies regulations that are far better than they have today.

And then, I read this.

Part 1: 'Manager's amendment'
This is the part of the bill that includes all the last minute fixes, most importantly stripping the public option and probably including suitable abortion language — assuming Democrats can reach an agreement on the issue. Once this part of the bill is passed, requiring 60 votes, it's effectively done. Reid will have to pass to other parts of the bill, but that's really more about formality and process.

The cloture vote would be sometime Monday. This is the most important vote in this process. If Reid gets 60 for this — the most controversial parts of the entire bill for Democrats — it's assumed he'll get 60 for everything else. Passage of the manager's amendment would be Tuesday.
I read it again. This part:
The cloture vote would be sometime Monday.
And then this part:
Passage of the manager's amendment would be Tuesday.
And again. And one more time. Again.

Ok, I decided I read it right. So this means that the Manager's amendment, which would require 60 votes to pass is to be offered after the cloture vote passes. Now, with the caveat that final passage requires only 51 votes (or 50+Biden), do you see something here? It means that the cloture can pass and the manager's amendment can be defeated subsequent to the cloture vote. The manager's amendment is to the current bill on the floor, which contains an opt-out public option. So what happens if the following - albeit fantasy - scenario plays out:

On Monday, the Senate votes for cloture with 60 votes.

On Tuesday, the Manager's amendment comes up short of its required 60 votes because Senate progressives hold together. How many need to do it depends on what the Republicans do. If the 40 Republicans decide to vote for the Manager's Amendment, we can have no more than 19 members of the Democratic caucus voting for it - meaning, we will need to hold at least 41 members of the Democratic caucus together on this. If the Republicans all vote No, then we will only need one Democrat to vote No.

Then the bill that goes to final passage is the current bill, without the manager's amendment to strip out the public option. Remember that final passage only requires majority vote, which we have among the Democrats alone.

Could this happen? Theoretically, I don't see why not. It would be good policy and good politics. Hoodwinking Lieberman? Yeah, baby!

The big elephant in the room in this scenario would be the fact that once the Senate passes its bill and it goes to conference with the House, the conference report itself will also require 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, even though the passage of it will still take only 51 votes. This is true. However, if the Senate passes a public option, the House may well decide not to go to conference and ping pong the bill instead right to the President's desk - for those without knowledge of legislative jargon, it means the House can take up the Senate version without any changes and pass it and eliminate the need for conference since both houses will have passed the exact same bill.