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. Diane

    Great! That's what a majority is for. Republicans would not hesitate to ram it thru. Americans want reform! Go for it, Dems.

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. LISA GA

    The Dems should go it alone. If the Republican don't care about trying to help people than forget them. Bush did not worry about the Dems so why should we worry about the Rep

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Ad West

    Do it Obama. This country can only move forward with the Democratic party anyways. This may be the last shot we have at actually making a sweeping reform of an industry poisoned with corporate greed.

    August 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Chris from NY

    This is bull. How in the world could they have the face to accuse the Democrats of power play when all they did since day on was to block the health care reform. They say they are for health care reform but wouldn't vote on it even if they succeed at stripping everything in the bill to suit their political aspirations. This is stupid at best.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Drew, FL

    About time.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Phil Muse

    And why not? For eight years the Repubs rammed their Bush-league legislation through Congress without any attempt at bi-partisanship. And they had less of a mandate from the American people than the Democrats have now. Sometimes we worry so much about safeguarding the rtights of the minority from the will of the majority, that we ignore the opposite situation. A highly organized, politically charged minority can also impose its will on the majority if they aren't vigilant. Think not? It happened in Germany in 1932.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. matthew

    do it.
    put the public option back in and pass it.
    there is a reason for a 60/40 majority in the senate and an 80 seat majority in the house.
    the people have voted for that representation.
    now represent.
    pass health care reform.
    the democrats will get all the blame anyway, they might as well take all the credit.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. Travis

    One step closer to being a welfare country like canada. I wish all you dems would just move there. Be lazy & amount to nothing somewhere else. This is not the land of mediocrIty.

    August 19, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. NH Independent

    Big shock there..........the Democrats are idiots

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    The Dems need to get fired up about how to fix Medicare, Medicaid and social security before they spend us more into debt to pay for all the other 42 Million plus people to get free health care. Just insanity PERIOD. Many of those could care less about medial care until they have to go to the ER on an emergency. They want their vacations, cars, TV cellphones and the list goes on and on. They actually have money for health insurance but choose the rest of us struggling paying honest people that go without to pay for out health insurance and end up paying for them also. Medcaid is for those who cannot or will not pap for their medical insurance. The majority of us are just plain tired of all of the nonpaying , lazy loafers who suck on the rest of us and the teets of the government. Obama promises cradle to grave freebees and thats all they hear or care about. Me, Me, Me, Free, Free.

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Enough

    Reid, Pelosi, Frank and company!! That is who is deciding our future. Hard to imagine anyone on this planet voting for these out of touch losers.

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. JDM

    It is about time! If your going to get your butt kick, at least go down swinging!
    All your got to do is dust off the Bush/Chaney Play book.
    1. Give everyone the talking point MEMO's
    2. Fire on the spot anyone who say the wrong thing!
    3. Sell Baby Sell!!!!!!
    4. And if someone don't like it!!! Tell them "I AM STILL YOUR PRES FOR THE NEXT 42 MONTH-DEAL WITH IT" HOWAAH!!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Paul

    About the worst argument for the government option is the idea that other industries have both private and government entities surviving well with each other. The one most often used is the USPS
    and UPS and Fed EX. The last time I checked however, their are no contracts or premiums within the mail industry, like there are in healthcare insurance. Also, the USPS is the only player in the first class mail delivery game, UPS and Fed EX make their mark in the delivery of packages. So these entities really don't compete head to head. The healthcare insurance industry is a totally different ballgame and can't be equated easily to other industries.

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Al Mellen

    The republicans will NEVER go along with the democratic party on anything,,,,EXCEPT when it comes to giving themselves a pay raise. The republicans for the most part are the BIG money people,,,Corporate America,,,,,,the 1% of the population that controls 40% of the wealth in America. Those republicans are not going to bite the hand that feeds them,,,,,they never have,,,,,,they never will. If America does not get some kind of health care this time,,,,,God pity your children and mine.

    August 19, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Doug from Allentown, PA

    They THINK they could push it all the way. I doubt they have the votes to do this... at least not with a "public option" plan.

    August 19, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Leanderjim

    Well, it's about time the Dems got some spine.........of course they should push it through............the party of "NO" can stay just that in their ever shrinking minority.

    August 19, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Greg

    Fine with me. Republicans don't want to work with the Dems. They don't want to work for the people. They're only concern is the 2010 elections. Republicans idea of Bipartisanship is to do everything there way. They seem to forget, they WERE the majority. They didn't practice bipartisanship. Bush used "reconciliation" more than once to get his tax cuts through. The people voted them out.

    August 19, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Doug

    Yes, push it through. The Government should run health care. Take the profits from the Insurance companies to pay for it. They make too much money.

    Pass cap and trade too. Push that through, the nasty old Republicans can't stop you. Take the profits from the oil and gas industry to pay for it, they don't deserve the money they make either.

    If they were patriotic, they would offer to be taxed at 80% to help those who can't afford the basics in life.

    People should not have to go without the basics in life. Housing, health care, a good paying job, and a vehicle. The government should provide all of these things. It would really make things sooo much better.

    August 19, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Donna Swanson

    Please do push it through. The Republican leaders are not interested in compromise, as they want to be on the I told you so side, so you might as well ge the best bill you can while you are at it. That is what you were elected to do. Thanks for getting to it.

    August 19, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. LB Boston

    The best news the GOP could possible get would be for dems to pass health care reform on a straight party line vote. This would guarantee two things: (1) a Republican will ein the White House in 2012 (2) The GOP will have a majority in the Senate after the mid term elections which will efectively kill all of Obama's crazy legislative ideas for his last two years, making him a One and Done President

    August 19, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. What GOP isn't telling you

    Facts are this: GOP has said reform is coming regardless, major reform. So their plan is to do nothing, stall and let their true reform come when they are in power..which will result in 'market will regulate itself'. So medicare and any government involvement will more than likely vanish, and it will ALL be in the hands of the insurance companies. So you are truly going to get what you ask for America.

    August 19, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. DJ in the Silicon Forest

    "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."
    This attitude from the White House is exactly why there is an outpouring of outrage across the country! They really do think we are just mindless sheep following our "leader" to the slaughterhouse! Newsflash: We DO remember and we will NOT forget...especially come November 2, 2010!!!

    August 19, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  23. tidho

    Hopefully everyone is starting to understand that both parties are equally self serving.

    'A win is a win'...what a frightning statement. A win for who? The progressive movement or the American people?

    At the very least I hope the public option gets shut down along the way. Bigger government hasn't solved a problem yet.

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    Did the WH EVER think that any of the republicans would be onboard? The party of NO has made it's position clear for 7 months.

    Good job forcing the GOPers to state this fact openly.

    August 19, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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