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. Greg W

    Great. Change the rules. If you can't win under current rules, change them!

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. ROGER

    There can be no bi-partisan compromise when one party (Reps.) are not willing to compromise! They stated early on that their goal was to see Obama fail as pres. Maybe if the Dems. push the health care thru over rep objections, they will get the cajones to do the same with more legislation. The reps will put their hunger for power over the wellfare of the country every time.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. meltem

    Not a surprise at all. They should just do a straight up or down vote. If they use reconciliation it will be a huge political mistake. Something they live down in the next election. They may win health care but the will lose the people.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. eolufemi

    Reconciliation is the only way to go. The republicans are not willing to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. The consequence of that is nobody should bend over backward to accommodate their perspective.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. who made you hall monitor

    They make me sick. The only thing I am behind right now is STRICT term limits and I am a life long democrat. I am so SICK of all of them, especially the liberal groups I use to support. I hope EVERY ONE of them gets voted out of office. I work under "regs" right now and they are open to the interpretation of the person that reads them. I have looked at this bill it is no different. It means what you want it to mean and the people that "regulate" it will determine the interpretation and it will be different for every regulator that reads it, I don't have to speculate it is the reality. I work with Medicaid “regs" and you never get the same interpretation of the "regs" twice, the interpretation changes according to the person interpreting them THAT IS REALITY.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Billy J Texas

    Finally! It looks like the Dems are growing a pair. I guarantee (judging from the late 90's and most of the 2K that the Republicans would have done whatever 'technical' move they had to, to get whatever result they wanted. They did it without batting an eye for close to 10 years. I am glad that we are finally getting some representatives with some back bone. God bless America, and save the middle class.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. Public Option is the Only Way

    No matter what this President and the Dem do, the Repugs are going to cry foul. All the Repugs have shown their cards,they already said that they can't and will not support anythign the Dem put on the table. So why should the Dem give an inch. Get the bill that they want the way that they want it done. At least we'll beable to secure the voting public that understands without accurate HCR this country will go bankrupted. Its no wonder tht on Monday when the WH gave indication that the PO was out that stock prices for the insurcance compnaies sky rocketed. Why should we keep rewarding the companies tht are robbing us blind of our kids future.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. ConcernedCitizen

    If the Democrats force this bill on the American people against the American people....there will be a serious price to pay. They severely underestimate the backlash they will receive if this is done. They might as well call Jimmy Carter and ask him to get the guest house ready.

    August 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Erik

    About time!

    August 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "At the end of the day, they'll remember we got health care reform done. A win is a win."

    And tyranny is tyranny.

    Most Americans–54% as of yesterday–do not want what the Democrats want. In particular, they don't want to have to pay trillions of dollars for yet another Liberal entitlement program.

    The vast majority of Americans–80+%–would see no benefit from such an entitlement program–they'd only be stuck paying for it and, for their added expenses, receive poorer medical care.

    August 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Health care is critically needed by millions of American that doesn’t have it. I’m one of the one’s that can afford health care, although I don’t appreciate paying three times as much for health care after the 9/11 attack. A health care program that covers those that can’t afford it is critical to the health and image of American. I say drop the politics and pass it any way you can.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. worriedmom

    Does this surprise anyone? ONce again WH giving into the Looney Left Liberals!!! It is so obvious that the Liberal Democrats are gonna do what they want and they could care less of what the majority of people are feeling. Why don't we just let all these loonies pay out of their bank accounts, the money to give the 45 million (half illegal) pay for health insurance. They will sell their souls and families for a vote! How pathetic!

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. robert diogenes

    THE FACTS BEHIND THE NEWS Go to it and do it democratics. There is no bipartisanship. The bipartisanship approach is a TERRIBLE MISTAKE IN JUDGEMENT AND TACTICS. The only agreement Republicans would agree to would be a nothing reform bill with a little window dressing. The Republican first choice would be delay and delay and hope the Reform Healthcare dies an unnatural death.

    The public favors a gov't healthcare option and other reforms. The Republican sense a weakness with bipartisan baloney and are exploiting it. If A.Lincoln, FDR, and LBJ followed the democrats present approach there would be no Emancipation Proclamation, social security, medicare etc GO DO IT.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Tim

    What the Democratic leadership keeps forgetting is that 10 Democratic senators come from states won by McCain. It's safe to assume those 10 want to be re-elected. It's not the Republicans stopping the Democrats' health care legislation, its moderate/conservative Democrats stopping the legislation. Same is true in the house where 52 Democrats come from districts that are conservative leaning. If Democrats want to pass health care legislation, they have to come up with compromises that won't hurt the re-election bid of these Democrats. Plain and simple. Republicans are irrelevant.

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

    Oh please, what a laughable thought. In order to do that the Dems would have to grow a pair, show some unity and leadership. As it stand all the Republicans have to do is accuse them of trying to kill granny and point out how much the Dems hate America and they will fold like a tent. If Obama offered any real leadership he would have made one honest attempt to work with the Republicans and then given up, called in the Blue Dogs and gotten them in line and moved ahead with what needs to be done. Unfortunately, the only party with any leadership and stones are the Jack Boot Right

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Paul

    If the Pres cares so much about the uninsured Americans, what's he doing about putting them to work? He had all these big promises about putting people to work but that has been forgotten in all this drama.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. Wake Up

    Anyone realize who Obama really is yet? A big fraud. It's NOT MORE OF THE SAME, IT'S WORSE.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. Galileo813

    Get it done, ladies and gentlemen. The Republicans have no appreciable morality, and no connection with the majority.

    August 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. Mark Lins

    It's about time they come to that conclusion. Republicans are only obstructionist and the party of "no." Time to force them to consider it.

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

    This is just another attempt to blame the Republicans for the Democrat's failures. If the Democrats had the support from within their own party, the Republicans would not be able to stop this bill from passing. The fact is, there is bi-partisan agreement between Democrats and Republicans, on this is bi-partisan opposition to this bill.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Need Health Care Reform, NC

    I agree, get it done without Republicans. Even if they get everything they want they will not vote for HRC. Remember when the stimilus bill was changed they still would not vote for it. It is time to stop playing games with the lives of Americans. I lost 2 familiy members with Advanced Cancer because they did not have health care until the end. We tried to help with the money we had but it just was just not enough. We are a blue-collar family that have worked hard our entire lives. We don't mind paying our way. We are not asking for a free ride, but we do want our quality of life to be better.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. About time

    It's about time. Mr. President, we elected you to bring about change. Be bold and do what we elected you for. The Republican's have told you indirectly and finally directly that they want you to fail. If the middle class and poor are hurt further they could care less. We are counting on you to fix what they broke. The middle class need you now more than ever. Man up and tell the blue dogs that they are either with you are they will pay a severe penalty. I want change that I can believe in.

    August 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. 2010 - The People Speak

    Push it through then we push Democrats out of office.

    August 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. John Kovacs

    Wow! The Republicans would be accusing the Democrats of not playing nice! After all the junk they shoved down our throats in the middle of the night during the W years. Sorry, bad news for you Republican obstructionsits: it's out time to play now.

    August 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Willa

    I hope that the Obama will keep his promise...this is the ONLY chance for healthcare reform...If he can't do it, it will NEVER happen and who will be the worst of? We the people of the United States and corporations with their republican backers will florish to no end...

    August 19, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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