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. Kentucky

    Maybe the Democrats should stick with a popular program like medicare. Lower the age to get medicare from 65 to 50, and put the uninsurable ( young adults who have had cancer, type 1 diabetes, etc.) into the medicare program. JFK made civil rights a moral issue. Obama should make health care a moral issue. It is immoral to try to prevent a reform that would allow a 25 year old breast cancer survivor to get health insurance.

    August 19, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Dale

    What's new? Simply another example of extreem liberalism doing whatever it takes to get their way despite what the majority of the populatoin wants. I, for one, will do everything I can to ensure these selfish, self centered, bafoons are replaced when their term ends.

    I can only pray that the damage they and their leaders, (nancy, harry and barack) do can be repaired and that America once again returns to the principals of its founders.

    Everyday we see another step toward what obama really nation under the anointed one with the general population subservant to the will of those who are nothing more than ledgends in their own mind.

    August 19, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Slacko

    Good, Republicans have made it clear that they are only trying to stall progress, not develop any real solutions. I'm glad the Democrats have finally realized that negotiating with Republicans is fruitless.

    August 19, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  4. Carolyn

    Yes! Go do what we elected you to do!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Tracy

    When I was a kid, girls were not allowed to wear pants to school. My mom and I fought the school district for weeks to have the dress code changed. All the parents were screaming about how girls should look and act like girls, and wearing pants was going to promote promiscuity (yep, I am serious). Virtually every parent my mom called refused to help. When the school board finally modified the dress code, I was the only one who wore pants to school - for about three days. Virtually every girl was wearing pants to school by the second week. This, I predict, is exactly what will happen if single-payer is passed. Those who scream the most will end up taking advantage of it before the year's out!

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Mo

    Do it. Republicans have interest in reforming health care, only in defeating Obama and the Democrats on every issue. Democrats have made every effort to reach across the isle, but Republicans and their typical childish style of doing things, have done nothing but spit back right in their faces and spread lies. Republicans only want to get back into power so they can push this country even further down the toilet than they did the previous eight years. You say the government is trying to prevent the biggest con artists in the country (the insurance giants) from further scamming the American people? ITS COMMUNISM I TELL YOU!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Lovell B. Harvey

    Democratic Congress should write the best possible plan for public healthcare for citizens of the United States and pass it. Republicans
    are not interested in passing any public healthcare plan.
    Republicans passed a lot of legislation Democrats were opposed to
    when they had control of Congress and Bush was in office.
    Come on Democrats in power – just do it! Give us health care average people can afford. It's easy – just make Medicare available to all citizens of U.S.


    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Karen Sage

    If Democrats bully their way to get this through then there will be some Democrats without jobs after the next election. Those we vote for to represent us have shown us that they have their own agenda and they do not listen to their constituents.

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. andrew

    Government and more Government is always the answer for Democrats. They alway think they know better then everyone else. Why so much faith in Government? What has our government done lately to earn our faith? How is Social Security doing? Oh yeah thats right, it is going bankrupt. How is Medicaid and Medicare? Oh yeah they going bankrupt too. How the 787 Billion $ stimulus doing? You know the one that had to be voted on right away, the one that there was not even time to read, you know the one that if we didn't pass it right way our economy was going to fall of the cliff. Well only about 12% has been spent so far, so basically none of it and yet we have not fallen off a cliff. Seriously folks the waste and the corruption in our government is off the charts. Why would anyone want to put them in charge of health care.

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. vic nashville , Tn

    Do we need health care reform now ? Yes

    Many hospitals and insurance companies are making lot of profits at the same time they are getting millions from the government

    FOX NEWS is not talking the truth !!!!!! They are misleading us

    Wake up America

    Obama is our president accept the fact he is facing the problems and try to solve those

    We have to support our president when he is doing a right things

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Harold

    The system needs to be changed. if the Republicans are not willing to concede on issues, screw them. Republicans who are well off don't want the lower class to have access to good health care. Those poor Republicans without jobs or insurance are being led like sheep and to dumb to figure out they are being used.
    The funny thing is I am a registered Republican with a job and insurance.

    August 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Mad At Americans

    About Bloody Time!

    August 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. susie

    Whatever happen to the people, who are elected officials work for? If they push this health care, they better get the same coverage as us.

    August 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. JLiu

    That is exactly what should happen. I voted the democrats voted in for change, and before the midnight bell strikes, we must use our political capital and silence the naysayers. The party of "no" needs to be put down and put down for good.

    August 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Bob in Pa

    The biggest mistake they could ever make.

    August 19, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. Big John

    Good, they say that they want some sort of health care bill but being the party of "no" that's the position they keep up with, so go it alone and do it without them

    August 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  17. katiec

    The Demorats have no choice.
    The republicans have stated they will NOT support Health Care Reform regardless of what it offers. Consequently, they are once
    again selling the American people down the river in favor of big
    Health care reform, with the Public Option is crucial for us and our
    country. We can no longer allow big business, lobbyists, special interests and those who support them have control, run our country and make crucial decisions on our welfare. We cannot accept politicians who put campaign funding, personal gains and interests over the welfare of the American people.
    Public option is the only thing that will make the insurance companies become competitive and, perhaps, bring back some integrity.

    August 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. mother and sister of a soldier

    So much for bipartisan or even the "checks and balance" the forefathers put in place. How can you trust the WH? It wil and always will be the "Chairman's" way....a man who never ran a company or met a payroll, a man who does not respect the military nor served his country. WHY, did anyone vote for Chicago change?

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. BOB

    Insurance companies will do anything to keep their profits. The have already shown they are willing to let people die slow and painful deaths to do so.

    That is why they should have no seat at the table on health reform.

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Nora

    The whitehouse and democratic members apparently have no respect for the people of this great nation, to say they will push this healthcare bill forward and no one is going to remember what a mess it is. You have got to be kidding. Try it and those members who passed it will find themselves without a congressional job. They had better wake up to the fact that they WORK for US, not the other way around. They are Government SERVANTS, paid by hard working AMERICANS to REPRESENT US, they are not GODS, Messiahs or omnipotent. Don't treat us like dirt beneath your feet.

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Loup Garou 782

    There could not be a better outcome for the health bill than to have it passed with only Democrat and Independant votes, NO Republicans.
    Then in 2010 for whom to vote poses no problem. It will definately be the downfall of the Democrats rein.

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Mindy

    FINALLY!!! It's about time the White House and democrats stood up to this bully MINORITY. Obama won the election. The democrats won a majority in both houses. Why are they letting the republicans control the dialog and the direction of government. The American people chose the democrats, with health care as a major point in their campaign. Do what the American people asked you to do and pass a meaningful healthcare reform bill WITH A PUBLIC OPTION!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. USMC - Mike

    Good ...

    Get a bigger hammer and jam it down the right-wings throat and make it known to all voters in every district where their Dem reps are siding with Big Insurance & the right-wing ...

    Time to clean house of the riff-raff ...

    August 19, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Lisa P

    I would rather have a good bill - clean and simple (single payer, anyone?) - than a bipartisan one, especially since the Republicans don't seem to be negotiating in good faith. Obama has given them more than a fair chance and all they seem to be interested in is throwing mud and kicking up dirt. To heck with 'em, then, if that's the way they're going to be. The American people deserve better. They deserve a health care plan with a clear vision of reform, not an albatross cobbled together, distorted and derailed by a bunch of Blue Dogs and Elephants.

    August 19, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    Its about itme that the Democrats grow some "BALLS." If this were the Republicans, we won't even be having this conversation. They know how to keep their coalition in "LOCK STEP." Democrats become schizophrenic when it comes to exercising their power, they want stupid "BIPARTISANSHIP." Say all you want about Republicans, they don't care about bipartisanship, they only care about exercising power whether its mandated or not. This is why Democrats need to get rid of the so -called Blue Dogs, especially the ones from the South. Lets have a purge like the Republicans are doing so we know who the real Democrats are.

    August 19, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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