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. MLH

    They have tried for consensus. Obama in particular allowed Congress to come up with a plan rather than attempting to push through his agenda. Then there were town hall meetings, copies of bills online, there were ways to contact elected officials. The Democrats truly interested in health care have done all they can. Now I am proud to see them grow a backbone and take it to the Republicans. There can never be compromise if one side refuses to budge. It will always be shame on the Republicans that every major social program in this country was rammed through despite them. How many Republicans currently enjoy benefits of Medicare – passed by Dems. Medicaid? Passed by Dems. Social Security? Passed by Dems. Thank you, Democrats.

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Mike in jax

    Time to get tough. These rethugs never had any intention of helping the average American, There was an election repubes lost suck eggs losers.

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. alvino

    I am dissapointed that the lies of the congressional republicans and Fox entertainment have been proven false, yet the majority of people in recent polls still believe them. B. Frank is correct that having a discussion with them is like arguing with a dining table.

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Deep Throat

    You do and you'll be out of office come 2010.

    August 19, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. Dave

    Good! Republicans have made their stand: against the American people, and in favor of big corporate fat-cats instead. It's nice to see them finally admit it. So, when Dems pass this bill and all Americans benefit from it, they won't have to share the credit with the Republicans.

    If this thing is successful - and the fact that all the criticism its opposition has been able to come up with are blatant, hysterical lies leads me to believe that it will be - Republican opposition to it will pretty much close the door on the GOP as a national force.

    August 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. GI Joe


    The Greedy Old Party of NO is about to find out what it has been like for 8 years - WTG Democrats.

    We voted for health care change (republicans couldn't be bothered the last 8 years). WE WANT HEALTHCARE REFORM NOW.

    August 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. rob c

    Its about time they realized this. Let's get it done and help those that don't have the money to let their voices be heard. We all know who the republicans are working for, we don't need them.

    August 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Grassley is the head puppet for the Health Insurance Mafia.We have have only two words for him and his ilk,which arent printable here.

    August 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. NJ

    Well well well....look who's finally starting to stand up for themselve. Maybe our boys are finally starting to sprout a little fuzz on their peaches.

    Should have done this from the very beginning. Let's give these right-wing baboons something to actually be mad about.

    August 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Jo

    Finally. The GOPers have made it clear they are not interested in solving the problem. Time to pass and move on.

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Ray

    I think that President Obama has no choice, but to push the bill through without the help of the republican party. It is obvious that party will not agree with anything the president proposes. He has tried over and over again to reach out to them. It is time to move on. The majority of the people spoke when we voted the president in.

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. BOB

    It's about time the President shows his testicular fortitude. There are people facing death or bankruptcy in this country because of the greed of the insurance companies.

    Why is it we are required to insure our cars but people do not matter?

    enough is enough!

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. KyleIM

    GOOD! Democrats were given the majority for a reason. And poll after poll shows that while Americans are generally fed up and distrusting of politicians in general, we'd all still much rather have the Dems in there running things. Nothing more need be said: GET TO WORK AND BRING US REAL HEALTHCARE REFORM!

    Real Reform = Public Option!

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Anonymous

    The White House is finally realizing who won the election and who lost. Finally!

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

    it is time for the democrats to take over an do the job that the majority of americans hired them to do. shame ,shame on the republicans for showing such hatred for our president that they will let americans in need go without just for them to spite our president. the GOP is a thing of the past and time will show what a grave mistake they are making with americans. shame on the weak minded that listens to glen beck, hannity, palin an the likes of others on FOX news that are being so misguided by the facts. please americans don't be fooled by the lacks of these racist bigots that only want our black president to fail simply because of his skin color.

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. Truthteller

    I'm not going to weigh in on the issue but no one is mentioning the fact that the reason republican and conservativtive democrats BOTH do not want to pass this bill in it's current form is because it mandates that abortions be covered by all health plans. Now then. The truth of the matter is out.

    August 19, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Dustin Bend, OR

    Finally!! Take a stand dems! For too long we have been the party trying to please everyone. You were given a mandate in the election and now's the time to act based on moral convictions, not the illusion of achieving bipartisanship. Republicans working on the senate bill won't vote for it anyways! They just want to water it down before they vote no.

    August 19, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. MikeH

    It's about bloody time.

    Someone needs to take the Republican Party and drown it in a bathtub.

    August 19, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Jesse

    Lets see if they have the guts to push heathcare through without bipartisan support. Due to it being up to 1/6th of our economy if a good portion of the electorate is unhappy it will be political suicide. I hope you liberals are that stupid.

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. Fariba

    I am one of the millions of Americans who knows our healthcare system is woefully broken, yet does not fully understand all the jargon. But this I now understand: the mobs showing up to Town Halls are part of a movement that is there more to vent hatred and spew lies than to add to this vitally important debate and conversation. One lie after another by this so-called movement has been exposed for the rest of us to see. First it was "death panels", then it was "you have to go blind before you can get eyecare", then it was "illegal immigrants will be covered."

    I smell a rat, and it smells awfully like a secret consortium of the pharmaceutical companies allied with the insurance companies, gleefully siccing the rabid dogs of right-wing racists onto Town Halls, armed with falsehood and scare tactics.

    I am glad to see that the Obama administration is finally going to put an end to this circus by exercising its ability to bring real healthcare reform to this country, despite the transparent attempts of these mobs to shout the rest of us down.

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. Tony V

    The Democrats are blaming Republicans for this mess? Ridiculous. Don't they have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate at 60? Don't they have a 40 seat majority in the House? Didn't they have a Democrat president with a popularity at 65% in the White House?


    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Enough

    Good, then there will be nobody to blame but themselves when they create this disaster that nobody wants!! Waiting for 2010 when their sorry butts will be removed from power.

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The Dems don't have a choice since the stubborn Republicans try to block them at every turn! The party of NO is still at it, still telling lies about what will happen if the evil Dems pass the bill, and being the arrogant demanding political party that they've always been! They want nothing to do with anything that helps people......only their own kind of people! They have no interests in any kind of plan that will reduce costs as that would reduce the profit margins for the insurance companies who have given millions of dollars to many in their party.

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Hypocrisy

    The liberals were going to shut down the Senate if the GOP threatened to use "the nuclear option" to get Bush's appointments they're going to ram healthcare down our throats using "reconciliation"...where's the outrage?


    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Steve in Kentucky

    The Obstructionist Party will "cast" how the Democrats do anything in a negative light. Somebody must step up and actually govern. It would make sense for the majority party to plow past the Obstructionists and get something done for the American people.

    Health care reform will eventually be widely seen as a positive step for this country. The Obstructionist Party will get no credit for it, though they'll probably try to claim some credit somehow.

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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