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. Carmen, Miami FL

    I'm sorry, but are these people stupid? Of course Republicans weren't dealing in good faith! This isn't new, Republicans have been trying to set the bill up for failure for weeks. Did they learn nothing from the stimulus bill fight? Republicans are only interested in money and power, and in order to get back in power they need this President and the Democratic congress to fail, which means the country will fail. How do you bargain with that?

    Obstructionist Republicans (read: pretty much all congressional Republicans) need to be taken out of the equation. They are not there to help, they're disgustingly selfish and bring nothing at all to the health care debate except lies.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. alvino

    The congressional republicans have an approval rating of 21%. It is time for Democrats to move on without them. It also looks like a third party will be making congressional gains at the expense of the party of "No!" in 2010.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Paresh

    Go for it. Why wait? This is the reason we gave you both houses and while house. Don't disappoint.
    Best example to follow is USPS, UPS and FedEx. Private companies can do better if they provide better products and services when government is there.

    August 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. brad

    I hope the Dems have the guts to follow up on reforms with or without the Repubs. However, I would like to point out that if Obama is giving up too much, it maybe not worth passing. We need a real true to the core change. Not a little here little there with no real impact. The Republicans should be ashamed of themselve and speading falsehood. Don't know how they can look at themselves in the mirror. A sick political game.

    August 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Tyler

    Republicans are useless souls. They don't accomplish anything that doesn't benefit themselves or the "Party". The GOP is almost extinct.

    August 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. James

    The Republicans have shown through their lying about the bills under consideration, rejection of every concession to them (such as dropping single payer, dropping public option, etc..) that there is no compromise that would be acceptable to them.

    The people screaming to the rafters on blogs and at public forums are trying to assert that THEY are being ignored and that they represent the people of the US. I beg to differ, however, as we saw in this last election and the one before it, THEY are the ones in the minority about this. We voted in our president to FIX these situations and WE voted in our congress to represent us. This being the case, I believe it IS time to just move on without these folks who want to obstruct every attempt. Time for the insurance companies and their pawns to step aside and let the people get their business done.

    August 19, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Brian

    Could push it through without Republican support, when have they ever planned on getting Republican support? They knew this wasn't going to get support from any that actually has some grounding in moderate politics and it's not like the White House and Congress have been a big fan of bipartisan support as of yet.

    August 19, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. adam

    For eight years we had to deal with the WH's choices; let's give this WH the benefit of the doubt and see where it takes us. I know you Rep are still mad...but you made the decision to take us there...Now, it's Pres. Obama's turn. You can yell later in 2012.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Nuts

    Go ahead and seal your 2010 faith.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Jim

    Once they get my free healthcare I want them to focus on my right to food. I want free food too!

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. alvino

    It is interesting that Palin's approval rating is 39%, and the crazy congressional republicans have an approval rating of 21%.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. jfs Memhis, Tn

    I think that the Government will do what has to be done. THERE WERE A MAJORITY OF NEW AMERICANS that were not happy with the Constitution (the current document) when it was agreed upon. Boy , would they have make a mistake!!!! CHANGE is hard to swallow sometimes...even if it is for OUR own good. In 1965 when Medicare become official my Grand parents and Parents were OUTRAGED and fearful of a Government Program of that magnitude. Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma ALL benefited from Medicare in their wanning years and became a staunch supporters of this Federal Insurance Program.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. ron

    Why haven't you done this already. This is how cheney and the clown pushed through medicare part d. Time to grow some and fight fire with fire.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. cedgar

    I would not advise the Democrats to assume the American public
    would be forgiving! You think people are angry now, just let the
    Democratic party do something like that.
    Hey, this effects ALL, not just Democrats.
    The Democrats are taking the role that they
    know what is best for ALL and that is just not the case.
    We are in the mess we are in because of both parties and believe are
    not most American's understand that!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I personally can not wait for mid terms WE NEED OUR CHECK AND

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. JP

    The end justifies the means.....the 1st democratic commandment. I hope they will like being voted out in 2010 for defying the will of the people. They are just circling the wagons to protect POTUS because if this doesn't get passed, Obama is finished. Plus, the dems will be the only ones to blame when this turns out to be a big, huge, gigantic mess.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. Jay T.

    Yes, please.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Butch

    So much for all of Obama's talk about bi-partisanship.

    He is just another self-righteous, self-promoting politician. That's not change I can believe in.

    August 19, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Akin

    The priority for the WH is to respect the promise made to an old woman that donated $2 to then Senator Obama presidential campaign; and several people like her on the ground that change is possible. The priority should certainly not be to big elephants (Republican) that has comprehensive health care. Go Obama, go WH! Go Democrats! Is change not possible again? I think change is possible. God bless America!

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. JS007

    Hallelujah! Republicans' game from day one was simply to waste time, spread lies, and sabotage any progress while pretending to want reform. I would take out any Republican demands from the bill and show them that they are not going to get to water down policy while offering nothing in return.

    Now is the time for the American people to get involved and help Pres. Obama give them health care! He can't do it alone. There are also plenty of Democrats who are on the payroll of the insurance and drug industries. They need to be told in no uncertain terms that come 2010 we'll remember who worked for the people and who worked for the corporations.

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. CeCe

    If heathcare reform is going to happen, the Democrats are going to have to do it alone. The GOP is only good for complaining, whining, promoting fear and hatred and best of all, stirring the pot with falsehoods and lies. Republicans have become good for nothing!

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Jason

    Do it.
    You have trtied bipartisanship and all you have gotten is "NO" and "do it our way or else" and when you have tried to give factual information, actually had members of the GOP lie and distort information from the floor of the house.
    The GOP used to care about issues. Now they only care about getting re-elected.
    The GOP used to believe in measured debate. Now it is smear tactics, Rush Liebaugh, and hope no is smart enough to go to FACTCHECK.ORG

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. Susan

    They have to do this. Republicans will always find some reason to not support health care, passionate conservatives that they are (but not exactly COMpassionate.) If we let it get watered down, we are only helping the insurance industry, who is behind much of this discord. We have been talking about this for far too long, time to pass some legislation for AMERICANS.
    I read somewhere that one of the fears is that once there is a government option, people will be running to the doctor for a stufffy nose. Since the 250 million who already have paid insurance (employer or otherwise) don't do this, why would they assume that everyone else will? People don't have time to make frivolous appointments, wait their turn, and then be sent on their way to drink fluids and rest. I really think the Repubs are now grasping at straws to bring this down. Dems have the majority..use it!

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Arlene

    I don't know why the Dems haven't just gone at it alone from the beginning if they have the votes. It sure would have saved a lot of headaches with all these stupid town hall meetings. We all know the GOP would have done the same had they had a majority vote. Heck, they steamrolled over the Dems plenty of times when they were the majority and of course the Dems always sat there and took it.

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. For a Better America

    Good for them – Get some guts and let's make some change!

    Republicans keep screaming, spreading rumors, and throwing hate. Let's discuss the real issues and stop destroying real change . Healthcare is expensive – $280B is spent filing paperwork. How many Americans spend hours fighting insurance companies to end up getting denied care – Oh and these are the people with healthcare.

    A public plan along w/ a private option (which is NOT socialized medicine) allows for us to cut of the legs of the Insurance Healthcare giants who work us into a system that will bankrupt our nation.

    August 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. KC

    It would be the biggest mistake of their careers. In 15 months Incumbants of both parties are going to be voted out of office. If the Dems go this alone and resist what the majority of the nation is requesting (slow down and do it right), then they will be gone in larger numbers. To the Republicans....get off your duffs and come up with an alternative plan. Also, could you please quit pushing the "moral" high road if you refuse to walk it?

    August 19, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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