September 6th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Klobuchar on a health care bill: 'I would like to see us at 60'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Klobuchar said Sunday that she thought getting Republican support in the Senate for a health care reform bill was still possible."]
(CNN) – Two Democratic senators said Sunday that they would prefer not to see their party use “reconciliation,” a procedural maneuver in the Senate designed for budgetary legislation which only requires 50 votes for a bill to pass, in order to get a health care reform bill passed without the 60 votes necessary to break a filibuster.

“I would like to see us at 60. I would like to see some bipartisan support for this bill,” Minnesota Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I do think that it is a possibility,” Klobuchar said of the prospect of winning Republican support in the Senate for health care reform.

“The problem with going down to 50 is we just have more limited tools in terms of getting the kind of work that needs to get done to help people.”

Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, suggested using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill with a simple majority might stoke some of the fear and unease seen at some town hall meetings across the country during the congressional August recess.

“The people in Nebraska are already concerned that we’ve been rushing things through,” Nelson told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “and if we went to some sort of parliamentary shortcut, I think they would be even more alarmed than they are right now. That’s what I heard during the town hall meetings.”

After suggesting that Democrats should craft a bill that would get at least 60 votes in the Senate, Nelson also suggested Sunday that the ambitious plans for health care reform favored by some – especially more liberal members of his own party – should be scaled back in favor of a more piecemeal approach.

“I’ve thought all along that we need to do it in a more incremental fashion,” Nelson also told King.

“There are a number of things to bend the cost curve,” Nelson said after cataloging a number of reforms he favored short of a complete overhaul of the country’s health care system, “wellness programs would be a part of that – as well as improving the quality of care as moving away from the quantity of care. These are things that can be done.”

Related: Senator signals possible health care compromise

Nelson’s sentiments echoed comments by Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, formerly a Democrat turned independent, two weeks ago on State of the Union.

“Great changes in our country often have come in steps,” Lieberman said.

“There’s no reason we have to do it all now,” Lieberman said about the desire of some Democrats to extend coverage to the tens of millions who currently lack health insurance, “but I do think we have to get started.”

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I just love that we were so quick to push through the war in Iraq and spend 700 billion there. I guess the difference there is the Bush administration did a better job of convincing people we were in some sort of danger. Oh well... I dont need health care, I have it through my work, and the idiots that have all day to protest health care are the ones that will suffer. Good luck to them in all their endeavors.

    September 6, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Donkey Party

    I don't want the scumbag RepubliCONS anywhere near the health care reform package. They are a disgrace, they want to see America fail, and they'd all be tickled if one of their armed town-hall meeting Taliban members took a shot at the President.

    September 6, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. MsDp

    Our party will be the minority again, especially since you give the impression that this is what you want. The democratic party can't stand to make decisions and rule, WHY?!!!!

    Nelson, please support your party and the people you represent. Stop being a coward and vote for a public option. The plan will only create a cheaper option for poor working folks, and believe me there are plenty of working people who cannot afford health insurance for themselves nor their children. We don't want free health insurance, just a cheaper option. WAKE UP AMERICA, WAKE UP CONGRESS AND LET'S DO THE RIGHT THING. PLEASE REPLACE YOUR FEARS WITH FAITH!!!!

    September 6, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. S Callahan New York

    "Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, suggested using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill with a simple majority might stoke some of the fear and unease seen at some town hall meetings across the country during the congressional August recess."

    stroke some of the fear and unease? I think that is already there...
    it would cause civil unrest..say it like it is.

    September 6, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. Hendrik

    You are truly stupid, Senator.

    Republicans will not reach out and negotiate in good faith. Nor will they compromise. It is all smoke and mirrors. Have not yet figured that out?

    September 6, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. vic nashville , Tn

    Republicans lost 90 % of the minorities’ vote

    Now they losing middle class votes

    Problems with republicans they are not talking they let FOX and Rush to talk

    If republicans didn’t support health care reform they will be in big trouble

    September 6, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Carol from Wisconsin

    I agree with Lieberman. Let's start where there is consensus, in steps. These multi page bills cannot be read by all the people busy with jobs and families. Give us all something we can read, comprehend, support or not. Along with long complicated bills we are fed myths, fears, and misconceptions.

    September 6, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. GI Joe

    60 years of waiting for health care reform - and the Royal Obstructionist Party calls this "rushing it"?

    Who the hell do they think is going to pull the reins on the Insurance Premiums – Republicans? NO – they are being PAID by insurance companies to block this.

    Vote the Obstructionists out !

    September 6, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Mike

    Tell me if this might be a condition that would trigger the public option: 45 million without health insurance and millions other struggling to hold on to the crappy insurance they have.

    September 6, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. robert diogenes

    It is disappointing to see the democratic readiness to give up the gov't health option so easily. A state by state examinatiion of insurance competition shows that due to the consolidation in the health industry there is very little competition in most states. One or two companies have 70 to 80% of tne health insurance market.

    The country needs a gov't public option to give people more choice and an option for lower cost coverage for people of limited finance.

    Previous articles have stated that Sen Snow preferred a gov't option to coops and other suggestions. Democrats should stand firm and show more backbone.

    September 6, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. D. Tree

    Sometimes I wonder why the Democrats care so much about bipartisanship. The GOP never cared about them when they had power.

    The Republicans used budget reconciliation 3 times when they controlled Congress, and no one called it "open war" then.

    The American people will thank those courageous enough to pass reform.

    September 6, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Dereliction of Duty

    WHERE is President OBAMA in speaking out agains the printing of a photo of a dying Marine against ALL objections of the family. The President is SUPPOSED to stand up for his troops. Where is that idiot – other than fiddling around like nero while rome burns. Shame on him for not even saying a word. I HOPE that are Marines do NOTHING to protect the photographers of the press of the AP in the field anymore. Let them all die in the field, and take pictures of each other.

    September 6, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Arden Muller

    I would really like to see us at 60 also, but it is not going to happen and the President needs to get this done, and by the way, with a public option. Ms. Amy, this President has done everything he can to work with the opposite side, Forget it. The GOP want him to fail and they are not going to do anything positive to help him. The GOP is dangerous and disgraceful. If anything were to happen to this President, start with the entire GOP, and finish with the media, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the entire FOX news channel. God help them if this happens.

    September 6, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Kate in SW Fla

    Yes, I agree. AND, I think it is possible, with some changing. Now, it is the far left that is being just as obstinate as the far right. We are a centrist nation, let's make this reform more to the center. If Ben Nelson will support it, it is a good cvompromise, and the best we can get now. What Democrats are not getting is that reform must be ongoing. We can not expect to get some silver bullet passed and then that is it. We can get set on a path to incremental change, weighing results as we go along. that is the Americna way.

    September 6, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Carole

    @ Vic in Nashville......I 'totally' agree with you!!! The media, all of them, only show the wingnuts and give them credibility like they speak for all of us. As an Independent, I see these wingnuts and think 'Wow, these Republicans are really nuts and racist!'.


    September 6, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Get real!

    The best way to open competition is to open the markets so people can purchase accross state lines. We also need to reduce the unemployment rate; the more people that are working the less that have access to health insurance. And for those of you that are screaming about medical facilities and health care insurance profits I'd suggest you go look at Fortune Magazine's list of the most profitable industries for 2008. These 2 industries ranked 34th and 35th at 2.4 and 2.2 percent resectively. Hardly massive profits if you ask me.

    And for those of you that keep using this 45-47 million uninsured number I think you should read up more; this number has been shown to be high. I think the number of 15 million I've read about is too low; I think it is more like 25-30 million. So you all want massive reform for 1 in 10 Americans. 1 in 9 people in this country go hungry but I don't see you all screaming to help those people. Food is a basic right too isn't it???

    September 6, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. carlos, that one

    why not let the becks and limpbags broadcast their shows naked from MT. Everest?? would make really a sight to skip and forever

    September 6, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. carlos, that one

    BUDGET RECONCILIATION NOW!!!!!..........ignore those with IQ's below plant level repugnants.......useless, unamerican, unpatriotic and unwilling......

    September 6, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. AbraGina

    I say let the Dems push it through and then they OWN it. Then THEY can explain to the American people when the cost estimates soar and prices skyrocket and taxes go up. But they will just say that is the republicans fault as well, or Bush's. Take no responsibility for themselves.

    September 6, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Bev

    I will say it one more time LET EVERY FEDERAL LEGISLATOR STOP ACCEPTING MY TAXPAYER INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR HIM OR HER AND TRY TO PURCHASE INSURANCE PRIVATELY. Those elected officials who are benefitiing from a government insurance plan should be the LAST to keep it from those who are scraping by to pay for insurance. My family premium goes up $1200 this November. Why? why? why? Could those opposed to insurance reform please tell me why my family has to pay out $8500 a year for health insurance, with a $10,000 deductible – and a clean health record? It is insane. All you federal legislators. You should hang your head in shame for denying to others what you embrace for yourselves.

    September 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. southerncousin

    I really hope the libs do use the "nuclear option." It will absolutely show how morally bankrupt they are and still up the public to replace them and their idiot president. All you libs, keep sticking your hands down the front of your pants whenever Hussein is on tv and calling the conservatives names.

    September 6, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Intelligentia

    "Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat from Nebraska, suggested using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill with a simple majority might stoke some of the fear and unease seen at some town hall meetings across the country during the congressional August recess."

    Question: What would be the difference between the fear now and the fear after the bill is passed with only 50 votes? These people are perpetually fearful; therefore, we should not allow their fear to hold this country hostage. Either you grow up or dig a hole and move underground because of your fear. Public Option Now!

    September 6, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. F. Nmeribe

    Personally, I'd like to see the liberals at 20 not 60. Here's to hoping 2010 brings some sense back into the voting public because they certainly missed it in 08.

    September 6, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |