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. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    The Republicans are just recycling the same old arguments they used
    against Medicare, the scare tactics that NEVER materialized. It's a waste of time and energy to expect them to cooperate on anythig that helps the Ameican people.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Brian Rich

    It would be a power play indeed, and it's a show of muscle I'd love to see from the Obama Administration. He wouldn't be the first president to flex his muscle and he won't be the last.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. LYNN

    I don't think the democrats should force the health care bill through. For one, they and the president are not listening to the people. They are all there to serve the people. They are all only serving their own agenda. We are not a socialist country yet. I hope the democrats start listening to the people so we can remain a free not a socialist country. If the president doesn't like it, tough. Maybe he should start listening to the people. After all, he is not a king. Even if he acts like one. He is just a president representing the free people of this country.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Lori in St Pete

    "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."

    Glad to hear the dems and WH finally bought that ticket for the bus to Cluesville. Maybe someone finally got through to them that they lost in 1994 because they failed to come up with meaningful healthcare legislation. If the same thing happens again this year, the rethugs and their corporate sponsors will use the issue to beat them into the ground in 2010/12. If they DO enact reform and still get voted out of office, they become martyrs for their cause, so it's win-win.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Sharon Northern Virginia

    I guess they must do what needs to be done to help some that can benefit from this Healthcare Reform. There are many Americans out here that need this help. However, I am hoping that Americans/United States Citizens are the ones who will benefit.

    August 19, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. Allen from Texas

    Pushing it through without getting any support from republicans and conservative dems is a horrible idea. It would alienate the democratic party and give support to the republicans making it impossible to get anything else pushed through, much less winning any mid-term elections. Are the dems willing to sacrifice all other topics of interest and policy changes they are seeking for this health care reform?

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. Chris - Denver

    Good. About time.

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. Jordon

    so let me get this straight... because the dems want this they can just force it through? whatever happend to voting? why dont we the people vote on this matter? this is absolute blasphemy! what a blatant form of dictatorial leadership! down with obama, and his cronies!


    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Screw the Republicans. They are slime, anyway. Push through a meaningful healthcare bill with a public option. As for the right...let them eat cake. They did enough damage during those 8 years under King George and Dick "Snalf Face" Cheney.

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. Cecilia

    We need a public option!!!
    So far, I did not hear anybody that made sense when stating their opinion agains healthcare reform!
    That's why we voted the way we did, we need this selfish establishment DEFEATED!

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Ohio Mike

    It’s about time. The American people spoke loudly and clearly last November and the Democrats may finally be listening. The GOP will vote against whatever plan is put forward. The Democrats need to lead and the GOP needs to follow or get out of the way.

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. roscoe

    Why do you continually not tell the truth about this story. The Republicans cannot filibuster and you know it. The only reason this cannot pass is because of Democrats.

    August 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. joe

    Careful – It is interesting that as the Health care bill has had time to be digested (instead of being forced to a vote by Mr. Obama with little time to actually read the bill), many conflicting views have resulted due to the ambiguity of the language and my feeling is that if a bill is crafted with such ambiguous language that so much of it can be left open for interpretation, then it should not pass! Once we let the Government in, they will define it however they feel fit and whatever Mr. Obama is saying now he could easily go back on. This administration has only one agenda – CONTROL!

    August 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Henry

    It is about time that the Democrats grow a pair. After all this time of No, No, and No I hope the Dems have figured out that the Republicans are not worth talking to. These "conservatives" are a sad lot. The only way to get things done is to play the game their way; slash and burn. Doing it any other way will surely lead to NOTHING.

    August 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. Shawn

    DO IT!!! You have a been given a MANDATE from the American people. Republican mistakes over the past ten years is not the only reason Democrats have the majority in Congress. Healthcare reform NOW!!! It's time to take care of our own.

    August 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. jim

    It's too late for the Obama gang to get health care reform passed before the public finds out what a scam it is, we already know! And the WH adviser is wrong, we will remember the mess, especially since part of the mess will be the reform itself.

    August 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. Peoples Voice

    We, the people of the United States of America, voted the Repugs out of office so we could get policies that help the citizens instead of big business.

    We recognized the fact we no longer need people in Congress who could care less about us. Let them fight us and say no to us at their own political peril. In the meantime get the work done, Mr. President.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Paul

    Good. Grassley's recent comments in particular have shown that the Republicans were not negotiating in good faith. And health care reform is far more important that the faux bipartisanship lauded by some.

    Elected governments should govern. The Republicans were preventing that.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Alex

    Good! Bulldoze over the GOP and their obstructionist views.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  20. Larry L

    Republicans have one goal – to discredit the President. They fabricate vicious lies and continue to disrupt any attempts to hold a public discussion. Unlike President Bush, our current President does not cherry pick a group of hard-core supporters when attempting to communicate with the citizens. But unfortunately, dialogue with the right-wing is like talking to a pig. The Democrats should shove a plan down their throats, and let the Republicans explain to the American people why they refused to participate in the discussion, choosing instead to "scream at cars as they pass".

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. Change_Has_Begun

    YES! when these people are not ready to negotiate and just want the WH to compromise then who needs them. If the Republicans were in the WH and had majority you think we would be having town hall meetings to see if everyone agrees with tax cuts – no way. It is time to ignore these fools and move on – after this we have the economy, immigration, global warming, iran. north korea a lot of things to deal with. Don't have time to put up with stupid people who walk around public rallies with assault rifles – it is time to leave those people behind. We are the majority and we tried to involve the minority but now after all we have seen it is time to just move on.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  22. Sammie1eye

    So much for bipartisanship. And I thought this was going to be a "change we can believe in". And of course the Administration and Congress are not listening to the American public but instead are only interested in pushing through their own agendas and securing their spots come election time.

    Is this what this great country has come to? Lord help us.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. eolufemi

    This is great. I was wondering how long it was going to take for them to realize the republicans are just being obstructionists. If they want to be irrelevant than that's their decision.

    August 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  24. Mindy

    It's about time that the Democrats start acting in the same fashion as the Repulicans...push it through!

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Paul

    If Democrats are successful in doing this I beleive there is going to be mass resistance and extreme displeasure in the overall American Population. Over 80% of the population is happy with their current coverage. There is no need to ram government run healthcare down our throats! A democrat actually said yesterday that the best option for Americans is Medicare for all?? That should be enough to create concern right there! Healthcare reform needs to start with the reasons that hospital costs are exploding. Democrats have made insurance companies an easy target as the main villain, but insurance companies premiums go along with exploding costs of healthcare. There are many people to blame in healthcare but ruining our private system of obtaining coverage is not the way to go. And to all of you that want to blame insurance companies, I actually work for one of the bigger ones. I am in a manager level position and I have not seen any of this money that most of you Democratic leaning people think we are reaping. Our bonuses and pay increases have been down the last couple of years, in fact, my salary has been frozen due to the economy just like the rest of you.

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14