August 19th, 2009
09:27 AM ET
5 years ago

WH may push through health care reform without Republicans

Democrats say Republicans, particularly Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, aren't serious about striking a deal.
Democrats say Republicans, particularly Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, aren't serious about striking a deal.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health care reform bill without Republican backing, top Democrats close to the White House have told CNN.

The Democratic majority in the Senate has been stymied in the health care debate by Republicans and conservative Democrats, leaving them short of the 60-vote "filibuster-proof" margin needed to pass the bill.

Democratic success could depend on an obscure tactic called reconciliation, a type of budget maneuver that requires only a simple majority - 51 votes - to pass.

Going it alone could be risky for Democrats, not because they couldn't raise the votes, but because Republicans could cast it as a power play, accusing them of failing to win bipartisan support. But it's a fight Democrats might be willing to enter.

"If we have to push it through this way, no one is going to remember how messy it was," a top White House adviser told CNN. "At the end of the day, they'll remember we got health care reform done. A win is a win."

White House officials are beginning to lay the groundwork for such a move, telling CNN that they'll have to take drastic measures if there's no movement.

Sources from the administration and the Democratic side of Capitol Hill have told CNN that they're becoming increasingly convinced that Republicans - particularly Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley - involved in the negotiating process aren't serious about striking a deal.

Full story


Filed under: Health care • Obama administration • Senate
soundoff (342 Responses)
  1. ?QUESTIONEVERYTHING?

    The Dems may pull this off, but if they do, they will have won the battle and lost the war. They just don't understand the mistrust of the public to the government running 15% of the economy and being that involved in healthcare.

    The government's current social programs are all incredibly expensive and are running tremendous debts, yet we are suppose to believe that this program won't increase that debt (Obama's own words). We just aren't buying it. It sounds about the same as Bush standing on an aircraft carrier and declaring victory.

    There is a bumper sticker that sums up this whole situation, "If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free!". Especially if the government is running it. It will be more expensive, less efficient (I know that's hard to believe, but it will be.) with decreased quality.

    Sorry, just not interested.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Jon

    It is suicidal for DAMs and Obama to do just that. Where is the promised bipartisanship? Where is the democracy in this country? Where is the promised transparency by Obama? By going this way, DAMs and Obama would open a bottle of poison pills. The Republicans will follow suit next time around. You plant the trees and you will get the same fruits.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. mary

    it is about time to use the ower

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Jeff Brown

    The Democrats have the numbers in the House, The Senate and The White House. We worked hard to get those numbers, and should pass Healthcare Reform with or without Republican Support. Republicans are determined to say No no matter what.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Aaron

    This is what should have happened back in June.

    August 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Victoria

    Oh, please Democrats do, please. Yes you can remember those words.

    If we have to push it through this way, no one is going to remember how messy it was," a top White House adviser told CNN. "At the end of the day, they'll remember we got health care reform done. A win is a win."
    And if you believe that the American people are stupid & will not remember I have a bridge to sell you.

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. mary

    Sorry, correction. "it is about time to use the power"

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Jean

    It's about time the Democrats remembered who won the election. Consensus is only possible if both sides are determined to have it, and it has become obvious that the Republicans are only interested in making change and reform as difficult, if not impossible, as they can. Having tried and failed to gain cooperation, then I think Obama should remember who won the majority of votes and press ahead with the reforms we elected him to accomplish.

    August 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. Michael

    Screw the GOP. They've demonstrated repeatedly, and not just in the health care debate, that they have no genuine interest in bipartisanship. They're dead set on bringing down Obama. Now he has to take the gloves off and use his majority to get things done, without their obstruction.

    August 19, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. alvino

    Obama tried to deal with the party of"No!" Now is the time to pull the plug on Grassley and his wealthy health care donors and move on.

    August 19, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    This woudl be the end of Obama and the Dem party for 15 years! Go ahead, make my day!

    August 19, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Duane

    that’s right.....jam it down our throats.....that will be good for the country.

    August 19, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Doug

    About time; it is clear the Republican don't want reform. It is clean we need it. Since they don't wish to be a constructive voice in the debate, it is time to turn a deaf ear.

    August 19, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Christie

    Democrats, please "go it alone" at this point. You've bent over backwards to meet Republicans in the middle and compromise, and they're only taking advantage of that. Now people are coming to town hall meetings called Pres Obama a Nazi??!! No. There is a time for peaceful discourse and compromise, and there's a time for getting the job done.

    August 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Obama Victim

    not going to happen...........even MSNBC shot this down last night..............this is the White House trying to apease the far left

    August 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. art

    Excellent, do it!!
    We have been distracted by this for too long, it is time to focus on getting out of the wars, lets take care of our own and move on, please.

    August 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    It is about time... the Rethuglicans have shown themselves to be nothing but obstructionists. They are masters of misinformation and deception (remember the bush administration) and will enlist the easily frightened and feeble minded among us to pursue their agenda, while keeping their paymasters happy. A large segment of the easily led do not think Medicare is a government program, showing how well the propaganda is working.

    Democracy? Give us a break... our politicians have become government of the highest bidder and the third reich (hitler) would be proud of the work of the likes of fox news. I actually heard someone on fox complain yesterday that healthcare providers would not be able to keep up if everyone could get treated and that would mean people would have to wait for healthcare. How self serving an attitude is that?

    The "chosen" want to keep things the way they are believing they are at the top of God's pecking order. Seriously...

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Rada

    Bravo... the Republicans single handle bankrupted our economy giving money to oil and the rich because of the old Regonomics and trickle down economics. Lets face it the damage the Bush era created is serious and it looks like we have a chance of a lifetime.

    Democrats we gave you the reins to fix this once and for all. Stop trying to convince the Republicans. Do it!!! For once put out people first. This is the moment...this is the time....

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Zaley

    If anything is to be done and done correctly it will have to be by Democrats. The Republican Party is a party of fear and hatred. Republicans only believe in supporting war . They had no problem spending billions and billions on war, but now, if we need it here at home, they object. (?)

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Billy from NC

    "A win is a win." These pigs disgust me... it's all about winning and beating the other side. For the American people... "a loss is a loss".

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. sharon

    Well....................IT IS ABOUT TIME.

    The GOP.......................good ol' boys..........never entended to help.

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. dwayne

    Just Do it!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Ian

    I hope they do. It's political suicide if they push through a bill that's not supported by Republicans, conservative Democracts, and more than half the nation on a legislative loophole.

    When this health care reform encounters problems, and it will see many including the draw-jopping price tag, the blame will lie solely with those left of center politicians that rammed it down our throats.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  24. Carmen, Miami FL

    I'm sorry, but are these people stupid? Of course Republicans weren't dealing in good faith! This isn't new, Republicans have been trying to set the bill up for failure for weeks. Did they learn nothing from the stimulus bill fight? Republicans are only interested in money and power, and in order to get back in power they need this President and the Democratic congress to fail, which means the country will fail. How do you bargain with that?

    Obstructionist Republicans (read: pretty much all congressional Republicans) need to be taken out of the equation. They are not there to help, they're disgustingly selfish and bring nothing at all to the health care debate except lies.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. alvino

    The congressional republicans have an approval rating of 21%. It is time for Democrats to move on without them. It also looks like a third party will be making congressional gains at the expense of the party of "No!" in 2010.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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