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. Paul Miller

    Grassley's only plan is to destroy Health Care Reform.
    Democrats are too scared of the big bad Republicans to oppose him, Democrats need Health Care more than anybody else, because they need a heavy dose of courage.

    August 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Lola

    I sure hope the Democrats do. The Republicans don't want any change, they can't come up with they just want to make everyones life miserable. Now is our time as Democrats to make a difference. The republicans don't want to work together...they have said all they want to do is make the democrats fail. Again only looking out for themselves and not the American people. They are doing that by telling lies and spurling out hatred. That is not who I want us to be. What do the other countries actually think of us when they see our news media coverage, with all the shouting and unruliness. We want to lead the world again and we can't even work together. Something is terribly wrong with this picture, don't you think? Media and everyone out telling lies and hatred...try looking at the possitive side of things and work together, I bet we move alot faster and improve alot more for everyone. Then maybe our country can be a better place.

    August 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. donna

    This will only further divide the country on this matter and lay foundation for republicans to undo the whole thing when they are in control of congress again. Democrats seem to make up the rules as they go with a vote under "reconcilation" that even democrat senator Byrd says is an improper and propably illegal application of the senate rules. He should know as he is senior member of senate.

    This is another one of many reasons that the congress cannot be trusted with health care reform. Polls show that majority of americans do not trust government on health care "reform". Only more cost increases (per non partisan CBO), more taxes, less choice, less services and more government control.

    August 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Edna

    I don't understand why they didn't push it through before they went out on recess for the summer. The Republican have no intention of voting for anything that President Obama wants. President Obama is too nice a man and wants everyone to get along. That's not the way it is in this town. The people want a health reform package and that's what the Democrats need to do, push it through. Stop being weak. The 2010 elections will be interesting. I am a Democrat, but I will not be angry if Democrats as well as Republicas alike lose their seats because they are playing with the lives of the American people.

    August 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Carlos

    The insurance and health care lobbies own many Senators, mostly Republican it seems... the lobbies are feverishly working behind the scenes to topple any meaningful reform, just as they did in the Clinton administration. Of course the lobbies will give talking points to Republicans, who will in turn publicly lambaste Democrats and Obama with accusations ranging from "playing politics" to "destroying America", but going it alone really may be the last and best effort to achieve meaningful healthcare reform in this country. I wish the reformers the best of luck.

    August 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. NoGovernmentControl

    If a public option bill is rammed down our throats with 51votes, I will never vote for a Democrat again. I count on my legislators to provide oversight of private services. When private services are taken over by the government, who is left to watch out for me? If government can't do their job in regulating private industry, why should I trust that they can take over and manage the same services that they failed to regulate? They are certainly selling me out on Social Security. In the end a government controlled health care system will end up being the same as Social Security and the very people that put President Obama in office (the young) will see only diminished or poor service.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. R in Maine

    It is about time that the democrats used their power for something. Getting universal health care would be an action that we all can be proud of. I lake the suggestion that we make the Repubs step into traffic and afiliibuster so that everyone will know who it is that thinks that they are too good to address the needs of the people.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. seebofubar

    If they do, there will not be a democrat elected to any position for the next 20 years. This is way to important of an issue to force feed to the public. This is the problem with having 2 out of the 3 branches of government controled by the same party, especially when it's a super majority in congress. We need checks and balance. No one group has the inteligence or the insight to make this kind of decision alone. If they do this, there will be a division in this country that hasn't been seen since the Civil War.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. big papa

    As well they should...

    ...Republicans aren't interested in Health Care Reform...

    ...ALL of their so-called plans amount to nothing but GIVEAWAYS to health insurance profiteers...

    ...Conservatives are perpetuating outright lies, and if you believe the corporate media produced polls...

    ...the idiocratic, inbreds among senior citizens, (not-so) Independents, currently insured, and women are swallowing these LIES hook, line, and sinker...

    ...So, Mr. President I hope you use every method available under the sun to twist the arms of, threaten and OUT...

    ...the conservative Democratic Party TRAITORS, in order to pass a Public Option Health Care Plan...

    Our nation's economy (and future) depends on it...

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Post always rejected by CNN

    GOOG FOR THEM IT IS ABOUT TIME THEY STOOD UP TO THE DISRUPTIVE REPUBLICANS. All the republicans with their paid thugs are trying to do is derail the health care bill. They are getting to much money from health and drug companies to not to try to block it.

    Republicans do not care what is best for this country. Look at the buttholes they send to the meetings. But most of all look at the worst than buttholes who don't know one darn thing about the health care bill that are listening to paid health care infomerical republicans channels like Fox News. Survey after survey after survey taken shows that all the false, misleading and downright lies these people spew come from Fox News Channel. They are too darn stupid to realize that Fox is doing the health and drug companies dirty work for them. How can these people be so stupid...Not one of them knows anything about the bill except the lies Fox spews.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. jeff

    Do whatever it takes to keep a public option; it’s the only way we will be able to give healthcare to all Americans. Let the republicans complain all they want, their president did whatever he wanted. Please do not let the lobbyists win; for-profit insurance companies will NEVER have our health as a priority.

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Chris

    Do someone need to remind the President and the Democrats in Congress that "THEY WON!!"
    I mean give me a break!!!
    The Democrats and the President need to quit with all the bi-partisianship stuff!!! The Republicans do not want any part of it and therefore stop trying to make nice with them!!!
    They lost, so the President and the Democrats need to get their act together and do what needs to be DONE!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. SC

    What else do you expect from the party of NO

    August 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. JC

    Finally!! They grew a pair. Dont worry about the bipartisan. At least we are doing thins for a greater cause. Its not like we are waging a war at a country that never attacked us or anything.

    August 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. truthsayer

    Why does the GOP hate America?

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Lumberjack

    The party of no, the party of status quo. The republicans' true colors are emerging. They're on the side of the big-insurance lobby and not hard working americans who deserve affordable healthcare. It's a sad day in America when right-wing politicians will put big money and big corporations ahead of the common working man.

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. Paul

    Any of you that actually believe this is an "option" are crazy. If this government run plan actually goes into law there is no way for private companies to compete with it. The government plan will have its rates set at medicare levels undercutting hospital costs as well. What company in its right mind is going to keep coverage with a private insurance company. This will lead to most private companies being forced out of the industry. Then most people will have no choice but to join this medicare for all plan.

    Why do you think America has the best doctors in the world? This is because they are paid very well for the work they do. If this government plan goes in and wipes out private industry and sets their reimbursement levels under hospital costs do you think the best and brightest people will have the same incentive to become doctors? no

    August 19, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Patrick

    Any civilized nation is going to be a mix of capitalism and socialism. Without socialism in the US, Social Security, public education, and Medicare would be just three of the many government run programs that would disappear. It is developing a balance, where we must decide the line to be drawn that decides how much socialism is allowed in the country. As for health care, let the government run it. They will be more apt to cut some of the costs and be able to lower the amount of money people spend on health care.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Fred

    This is absolutely fantastic!! It has been OBVIOUS for such a long time that the Rethugs never really intended to play ball. They really couldn't argue against the healthcare bill so they invented falsehoods that didn't exist in the bill (death panels, abortion funds, rationing..etc) to rally their non-thinking base against.
    I totally support the President to pass Healthcare reform without Republicans. And lucky them, they still get to benefit from the lower costs that will ensue.

    Maybe there can be Bi-Partisianship on something like Education Reform. Will have to wait and see.....

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Obama 2.0

    I am a true Purple Independent. I have watched from the begining, have done my research, and am convinced that if the GOP does not get with the bipartisan program in helping craft a HCR bill then I say go it alone with reconciliation. If in the end a HC bill is not handed to the POTUS, he may as well reseign along with GOP & DEM congressional culprits. Failure is not an option. And we Independents are not going to forget who was on first! Republican or Democrat.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. chris

    Thank God. Health Care Reform can not wait; the sick in this country can not wait, for the ignorant and misinformed in this country to become enlightened. It must happen now, bipartisan support or not.

    August 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. bethie31

    Republicans have become worthless souls.

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Bxgrrl

    I hope they do! NO COMPROMISE FROM WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT, WHICH IS A PUBLIC OPTION. Take control back from the wingnuts and the GOP (redundant I know).

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Donna Renaud

    We elected President Obama because of his promise to enact health care legislation that would cover everyone. Isn't it ironic that Americans have the right to an attorney but not a right to health care? Do what it takes, President Obama to do the right thing!

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Lynne

    Grassley is the one who talks out of both sides of his mouth. He displays the signs of aging as he is confused in more stressful, chaotic situations like his townhalls.

    How old is this man and why is it that Americans have no problem returning the same do nothing, attention seeking career politicians? What exactly has he achieved in his "life" as a politician except gold plated health care and pensions and why should health care reform depend on this man??

    August 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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