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

WH may push through health care reform without Republicans

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    Democrats, If not now then when? If not here then where? If not by this CONGRESS them by whom? The Democratic Congress will sink or swim with President Obama and we will sink or swim with Him! Do not recreate the debacle of 1993-1994 AGAIN! Your seats are at stake!

    Wake up Democrats and find your spine including the Blue Dogs. Why do you think (blue dogs) there are no Red Dogs because the Republicans do not have an Obama with them. They had/have the likes of McCain, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Grassley, and of all the BLUE DOGs Ross!

    Obama – Biden 2012!

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Chipo1965

    Thank god, Go Obama

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Dave

    The Grand Obstructionist Party tried to block Social Security, Medicare and Civil Rights! All the right wing supporters should know and understand the history of the group they're affilitated with. Or maybe they already do and like living in a fearful, ignorant society full of religious freaks and 47 million people without health care. Health Care reform will pass and history will repeat itself.

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. Alan

    This is exactly what we need to do to ensure that the Repubs regain their power in '10.

    If you recall, the Repubs ignored public outcry over the war and economy in '06

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Chris

    Yeah Dems! Forget the party of no!

    Leave them behind like the dinosaurs that they are.

    The Reps don't have a plan all they are doing is denying reform by using fear and lies.

    Stick it to 'em!

    August 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Ann

    Why don't the Dems give Congress a good ole fashion Democratic sandwich and ram legislation down Congress's throats? They are in the majority – and the American people demand that they use this majority to pass legislation on healthcare reform with a public option included in it. Otherwise, we are still effectivley operating under the power of former President George W. Bush.

    August 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. marvinj

    What is so hard to understand. The reppublican party and some of the, self named "conservative Democrats". These people would rather fund wars than help the american people.

    Let us never forget the republican stand that war is always an economic boom for everyone in big business. Except the business communty leveraged themselves to the hilt banking on G.W.'s war of choice. Yes we're still paying for that funded war!!

    Health care really is a war worth fighting " it's like castor oil it tastes like crap going down, but it works great after you pass it through your system"

    August 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Blembergmd

    I wonder if this is a democracy? Sure he did win the presidency, but, what makes him think that entitles him to remake 16% of the economy in his vision. Maybe,he is the Lord. His "mandate" and that of the Democrat ic Party is not enough to allow a "single – handed" remake of a system of which I am a party. Of course, I and many other doctors, can just retire decreasing the pool of physicians available to care for a larger number of patients. I cannot deal with more government beuracracy and less pay for more hours of work beyond my current 60 a week and see no resolution of the malpractice crisis.

    August 19, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. obummer, 1 and done

    "A win is a win"????

    So it doesn't matter that more than half of americans don't want this bill. It's all about winning, not right or wrong, good or bad.

    Great leaders you elected. Or should I say self centered egomaniac leaders, it fit's better.

    August 19, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. Matt

    GOOD! Let's get this thing passed! If the Republicans aren't genuinely interested in compromise and just want to use healthcare reform as a political tool, go ahead and steamroll them!

    August 19, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. I Can See Argentina from my Front Porch

    As a former Republican, I am ashamed of the GOP and it's leaders.
    They would rather kick back and live off their wealth than to reach out and solve problems. Their money and their philosophies are more important than people.
    That what makes this whole "God and family values" thing such a travesty. Many of these politicians care nothing for God nor do they have family values. But they know how to manipulate the public and the media, and tell people what they think they want to hear. And that makes these folks NO BETTER than the others that they have judged and condemned.
    I knew this whoe conservative social push would be the beginning of the end of this once great party.

    August 19, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. James

    Co-Ops not an option, public option not an option looks like there is nothing in the Health Care reform bill that Republicans will agree to. Maybe that is why we see the Rebuplican version of the health bill gaining so much headway. Wait there is no republican version of a health care bill!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Roger in CA

    Dems: DO WHATEVER IT TAKES!!! Health care reform MUST be accomplished!

    August 19, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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