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. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Great, let's hope they do. Then we can get rid of this slimy bunch in the next elections. I love the fact that they are going to face the honest, hard woking taxpayers to pay more of their hard earned dollars to make the dope smoking, ACORN, union members and Oprah watcher happy. Joe the Plumber nailed it.

    August 19, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Walter

    If President Obama wants health care reform, he will ultimately have to do it without Republican votes. He has fought the good fight for bipartisanship. But it's time to move on now.

    Republicans will never support a public option, any more than they supported Social Security or Medicare. Their values (greed, hatred, and fear) wont allow it.

    But neither should the Republicans be allowed to keep the rest of us imprisoned in the quagmire of for-profit health insurance. We need a way out, and having it will force insurance companies to deal fairly with people if they want to keep their customers.

    August 19, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    If the democrats use reconciliation, NOTHING will stop the GOP from using it when they regain the Senate. Count on it. If the democrats are hell bent on ramming this down the throats of Americans, they will pay for it tenfold.

    August 19, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Chris D.

    Sounds good to me.

    August 19, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Push it through without rethugliklans and make sure there's a public option in the bill.

    August 19, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Tex

    Oh My Lordays! About time the democrats grew some balls. They should at least try this. Then, if it gets filibustered, like Carville said, at least you can square the blame on opposition for not getting anything passed, build up more support, etc.

    August 19, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Rick Karl

    It's about darn time....

    Republicans have always been against Obama, and his plans...time for Obama to crush them legislatively as the backwards roaches they appear to be.

    August 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Ed

    The dems will get cremated in next years election if they ram this through.

    August 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. F-Dog

    This practice is one the Republicans used all the time for the past 8 years. If the process is used to produce a good bill – then fine. If the process is used to produce a terrible bill – then its bad. We will have to see.

    August 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. steve

    it's about time! get it done!!!

    August 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. sage

    with all the LIES the Repubs and fox "news" have spread to their sheep, i hope the WH does just push through a comprehensive Health care bill...i would say to all those people who are listening to their Congress person telling lies to find out how much money that congress man gets from the insurance company.
    i say push it through, push it through PUSH IT THROUGH...

    August 19, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. Pepou

    Frankly who needs them ? The party of No, the party of extremists. What have they done to reform health care? Where is THEIR plan? It's about time democrats in this country realize that they have the MAJORITY in Congress and the Senate and that they should SUPPORT their President!!

    August 19, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. CR

    House and Senate Republicans (and some Democrats) are not serious about health care reform. They are protecting the narrow interests of insurance companies, big pharma, and the for-profit providers. They should be promoting the interests of the American people. We have had a largely dysfunctional system for decades, and the Republicans did nothing to address the reforms required when they held majorities. Now is the opportunity to move forward with reform.

    August 19, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. david

    LOL...own it Dems, you own it. Take over 1/6 of the US economy all by yourself...hahaha. YOU DON"T HAVE THE VOTES IDIOTS!!!!!

    August 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  15. Irma in North Carolina

    Everyone knows who has the least bit of a brain that the republicans will never work with the president, all they want to do is go against him. This will bit back at them in the next two elections coming up. So the democrats should not be any attention to the republican thugs and get this bill through on their own. Lets just see how far the republicans will get in 2012 when they throw Sarah out their for president. They should of learned their lesson in the last election when they had her running for VP. And she still hasnt changed any she still has evil words coming out of her mouth. It will be interesting to see her in a debate (providing she doesnt know the questions ahead of time)I dont see how the republicans can get in the white house with only 23 percent calling themselves republican. I for one am glad that I no longer am a republican.

    August 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Mira NYC

    i am for a single payer , however i could live with a public option, without that – there is no real health reform. we need this , with or without republicans, they are against everything obama anyhow – what a bunch of losers.

    August 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. jp,michigan

    I hope the White House WILL NOT do this. The American people have spoken as to what they want. Where is TORT reform? Where is Pharmaceutical reform ( so we pay the same as Canada for the same drugs)? Where is insurance regulation, so to cross state line to sell insurance (bring cost down? If President pushes passage of HR3200 against the will of the American people as it stands now, he is not showing governing but he is showing dictatorship! The president and members of congress work for the American people, not for self indulgence!

    August 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  18. Chris

    There will be no true cost reduction without tort reform. We, as doctors, will continue ordering every test possible regardless of value if we fear lawsuits.

    It amazes me that we are debating the "Obama Healthcare plan." There is no plan. We have several ideas in different committees. We have vague promises. Gibbs says they are still taking suggestions and they are open to this. The administration has promised everything possible. We can't give everyone everything, especially without a defined proposal. It doesn't pass the common sense test. This is crazy. We need to be patient and get this right.

    August 19, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. Patriot from ATL GA

    Don't worry. America will send more Democratics the next election cycle to help solve the people's problems. Enough with the no-no nay-sayers who are looking out for the special interest groups.

    August 19, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. Mississippi Mike

    What's the rush? Why does this thing have to be pushed through ASAP? We need to hash out the details and come up with a plan that benefits everyone. This government does not represent its people, it represents its own ideology.

    August 19, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. Deborah/Kansas City

    That is why we elected Democrats. We had 8 years of Republicans pushing throuh everything,with no care for bipartisan ship. It should be obvious to everyone by now that no Repbulican will vote for healthcare reform, no matter what is in the final bill. They are trying to destroy this President and protect their big money contributors in the healthcare industr; while sticking it to the middle class once again.

    August 19, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. cherrystrawberry

    I cant believe that they didnt get this months ago. Rublicans aren't intrested in anything but obstruction

    August 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. JT from MO

    I am 18 years old, and I, if I was president, would want to be bi-partisan, but if they refuse to vote for any type of reform, I would have no choice but to exclude them. I believe that Democrats and Republicans should work together to ensure success, but if one refuses to help at all, they need to get out of the way. So in this situation, I support this action. President Obama has the right idea. The Public Option is the only true reform option to compete with insurance companies that will give everyone a freedom of choice.
    Have a successful day.

    August 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    Just do what Bush did...ask for emergency powers to override the senate and the house to push through whatever measure you want. What I learned from President Bush was that, although the senate must vote to declare war, you don't have to follow the rules.

    August 19, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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