Democrats will finish their health reform efforts within the next two months by using a majority-vote maneuver in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said.Uh-oh. The GOP plan has backfired. They thought the Dems were done after Scott Brown. They thought the Village was going to buy the 41 is more than 59 play and that Obama was going to throw in the towel.
Reid said that congressional Democrats would likely opt for a procedural tactic in the Senate allowing the upper chamber to make final changes to its healthcare bill with only a simple majority of senators, instead of the 60 it takes to normally end a filibuster.
"I've had many conversations this week with the president, his chief of staff, and Speaker Pelosi," Reid said during an appearance Friday evening on "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" in Nevada. "And we're really trying to move forward on this."
The majority leader said that while Democrats have a number of options, they would likely use the budget reconciliation process to pass a series of fixes to the first healthcare bill passed by the Senate in November. These changes are needed to secure votes for passage of that original Senate bill in the House.
"We'll do a relatively small bill to take care of what we've already done," Reid said, affirming that Democrats would use the reconciliation process. "We're going to have that done in the next 60 days."
The move would allow Democrats to essentially go it alone on health reform, especially after losing their filibuter-proof majority in the Senate after Sen. Scott Brown's (R) special election victory in Massachusetts.
And then Wellpoint's rate hike happened. Suddenly, the Dems had their opening. And now they are going for the brass ring. Watch the Sunday shows be full of Republicans saying "Well, we're going to boycott the health care summit" and Obama can respond with "When the insurance companies want to raise rates by 20%, 30%, almost 40% on the American people in a recession, the GOP plan is to walk away from the table and leave you and your family at the mercy of the insurance companies."
This is starting to go even better than I could hope.