Democratic Senator Tom Harkin has announced
that Senate Democrats will pursue reconciliation, which requires only a
simple majority and not the filibuster-proof 60 votes, to secure health
care reform. The plan is for the House to pass the version of reform
already passed by the Senate. Then, the Senate will use reconciliation
to pass a series of amendments agreed upon with House Democrats.
Reconciliation is seen as politically risky
, but liberals have long urged it as a way to un-stall health care reform
. President Obama and congressional Democrats are shooting
for final passage of health care reform by Easter. Will reconciliation be just the trick to do it?
- All About House-Senate Trust The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn notes
that the plan requires House Democrats to really trust that the Senate
will pass the promised amendments. "The key now is giving the House
some sort of assurance that the Senate will, in fact, pass the
amendments via reconciliation. I continue to think it will involve some
sort of letter to the House, signed either by Senate leadership or 51
- What If Plan Falls Apart Mid-Way? Conservative blogger William Jacobson wonders
what would happen if the House approved the Senate bill, as planned,
but then the Senate failed to secure the agreed-upon amendments. "Obama
then has to power to sign the bill as passed by the House and Senate,
meaning the Senate bill. Has Obama promised not to do so?" He asks,
"Will Obama really pass up the historic opportunity to sign the Senate
bill even if reconciliation doesn't work out?"
- This Is How Dems Win The Washington Post's Ezra Klein is optimistic.
"Over the past 48 hours or so, you've seen the pieces falling into
place on the path forward for health-care reform," he writes.
"Democrats are setting up their process, giving speeches and
interviews, adding Republican ideas, and setting new deadlines. They're
bringing this to a vote. And that means they're confident that they'll
win the vote."
- Abortion Could Still Kill It Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey points out
that the Senate bill has looser anti-abortion restrictions than the
bill approved by the House. If the House is to pass the Senate bill as
planned, some key conservative Democrats, who promised to vote against
the Senate bill, will have to fall in line. If they do vote for the
weaker-on-abortion Senate version, they know they'll be targeted by
pro-life groups come reelection time.
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