October 26th, 2009
07:58 PM ET
13 years ago

Reid: Reconciliation 'always an option'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/26/art.reidhold1026.gi.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told CNN Monday that a budgetary procedure called reconciliation is an option to pass a health care reform bill in his chamber."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - After announcing his intention to move forward with a health care reform bill in the Senate that includes a version of the public health insurance option that would allow states to opt out, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told CNN that he has not ruled out using a budgetary procedure called reconciliation which would allow Democrats to pass the bill with a simple majority.

"It's always an option," Reid told CNN when asked about reconciliation Monday.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, told CNN he hopes Democrats don't need to go that route and remained open to putting a bill on the Senate floor that does not include a public option, should the Reid-pushed bill fail. A proposal without a public option would still require 60 votes to move forward in the Senate.

In an interview prior to Reid's announcement Monday, House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, made a public appeal to Reid to use reconciliation.

"I would say to Sen. Reid that 60 ought not to be the crucial number. 50 ought to be the crucial number," Clyburn said.

While Clyburn said he hoped to get some GOP support for health care, he doesn't think it's worth holding up the bill if Republicans refuse to sign on. "So I think it's good to have bipartisanship, but it's much better to get done for the American people what they would like to see get done."

The Democratic vote counter also admitted what most have suspected, that Democrats know they have to pass health care bill in the House with just Democratic votes. "I don't think there will be a single Republican voting for whatever we do on the House side," Clyburn said.

Clyburn said he expects House Democrats to roll out their health care bill later this week, which will include a government-run health insurance option. But he declined to give any details on how the public option will be structured.

–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart contributed to this report.

Filed under: Dick Durbin • Harry Reid • Health care • James Clyburn • Senate
soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. Bugl3t

    I say, GO FOR IT. Stop waiting for the old dogs to learn new tricks and just do it. I don't recall any Republicans asking ME if I wanted any of their bag of tricks - like a fascist state or a war in Iraq.

    Public option AT THE VERY LEAST... even better, single payer.

    And I just want to say... I am seeing MY business pick up dramatically as a web developer - I'm a single person business who occasionally hires outside contractors - Just to let all the "where are the jobs" whiners out there know I feel like there IS a recovery happening... it was pretty dismal last year and the first half of this year, but it IS picking up....

    Just as my President SAID it would. Obama 2012!

    October 26, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. FL

    In another article about this it said that a wide majority of Americans support a public option. I have not seen a wide majority in support of the public option in the polls that I have seen. What poll are they using?

    October 26, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Idiot_Pelosi

    If the DUMocRATS use reconcilation, this country will revolt.

    Go ahead DUMocRATS, watch this country start a revolution.

    I'll personally be in line to cheat on my taxes, lay off liberal workers, and ignore your liberal laws.

    Go ahead, make my day.

    October 26, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  4. rhonda

    Public Option for ALL and for ALL states, or just forget it.
    Also, why is taking years when people are dying? This is sad.

    A Democrat in Washington State

    October 26, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  5. SR

    I hope public option passes. Please do it and do it now! before some right wing genius will spend much more on another nonsense like Iraq. I cannot believe republicans complain about the cost after spending zillion in Iraq and started the bail craziness. Paying of Paulson’s buddies, giving non bid contracts to sniper Dick's Halliburton.

    October 26, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  6. janelle

    Harry Reid, James Clyburn and the rest of the Dems had better remember that they have a slight majority, 52 percent to 48, not some kind of blowout that gives them a mandate to push their way through with procedural chicanery. Reconcilliation on health care reform will be the downfall of the Dem Party.

    October 26, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. Truth in advertising

    Ok, I don’t see the transparency or the nonpartisanship or the open debate or the honesty I was promised, what else are they going to do to us before we wake up as a country and re-recognize the constitution as the basis for our government , not a document to be worked around and discarded. I voted for a change but not this.

    October 26, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  8. Zago

    Stand up Gentlemen to the party of NO. Democracy is the basic form of capitalism, MAJORITY RULES. Only in Socialist countries the MINORITY TERRORIZES the MAJORITY and hold power hostage. USE the MANDATE GIVEN by the AMERICAN PEOPLE to deliver the GOOD. Yet, you need backbone to stand up to the REPUGS and deliver. Sen Reid, when you get home please whatch two movies: Stand and Deliver, and Lean on Me. Thanks for your courage. I admire you and I know the job is tough. God Bless you for working hard for the rest of US. Thanks

    October 26, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  9. disaster

    That would TRULY be a disaster. Do you REALLY want to open THAT can of worms? Clyburn, you don't NEED repubs to get to 60...

    Change for the sake of change is meaningless at best and disastrous at worst. The greatest harm can come from the best of intentions.

    October 26, 2009 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  10. Moe, NY

    The majority of American citizens WANT A PUBLIC OPTION...pass it now, DO NOT leave it up to individual states to make the decision for the people. I live in NYS and I believe our Governor would opt in, but if left up to the clowns in Albany...there will be trouble. PUBLIC OPTION FOR ALL AMERICANS, it is the only fair way to go to make sure ALL AMERICANS are offered a chance for health care insurance.

    October 26, 2009 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  11. Andrew Thompsen

    I find it curious why the term "reconciliation" seems to be a nicer veneer than the term for the same Senate manoeuvre that the Republicans threatened to use in 2006 when it was dubbed "the nuclear option". Is this an example of journalism subliminally guiding the thoughts of the reader to make a nice-sounding term like "reconciliation" a more palatable term and associate it with Democrats whereas the same members of the press demonized the proponents of the "nuclear option" back in 2006? You can't have it both ways. Reconciliation is the same as the nuclear option.

    October 27, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. LaShawn

    The Republican Party is worthless go on without them. Finally somebody is making sense! Screw the party of NO!

    October 27, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  13. Kentucky


    There is a reason the Insurance Industry does not like the public option. They are exempt from the Antitrust Laws of the United States which does not allow competition. No wonder there are 1-2 insurance companies in most states. What a joke. I hope the Democratic Party grows a pair and passes this bill.

    October 27, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  14. I support the Public Option!

    Yeah, it might be the only option if the Republicans keep acting like little children. The public option was a compromise position in its inception. But the Republicans could not even meet the president or the other Democrats half way on that provision. So, if they can't get on board with the public option, then their proposals should be stricken from the bill and it should be passed via reconciliation. The time for appeasement has passed! If they don't want to be a part of health care reform, then they can just look like a bunch of buffoons when the President accomplishes the biggest domestic legislative victory in 50 years.

    October 27, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  15. Wise Latina

    It's NEVER been an option before for major legislation. Reid is very desperate and apparently doesn't care to destroy America's health care – the best the world has to offer – for political gamesmanship rather than the good of the country. He might as well try, he's already toast for his re-election anyway...

    October 27, 2009 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  16. JSRagman

    If it takes reconciliation, so be it. The majority of Americans voted for change so let's see change.

    October 27, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  17. Jon Krieger

    If the democrats want to be sneaky and ram this bill through that way,then I say let's all use our other "public option" and vote all the democrats out next november!

    October 27, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  18. Jim

    I still don't hear our republican friends proposing anything in place of the public option that will bring down the cost of health care insurance. Tort reform at most saves $50 billion over 10 years and shopping across state lines will lead to the same insanity as getting credit cards across statel ines (IE NO consumer protection). So, I think a public option with an opt out for states that don't want it sounds fair to me.

    October 27, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  19. Tanbiker2

    Let's hope the Democrats do use the reconcilation process to pass health care reform... including a strong public option... over Republican objections. Don't ever forget that GWBush and the Republicans used exactly the same process to pass their infamous ten year tax cuts for the rich and super rich. If the Republicans don't like it, let them choke on it.

    October 27, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  20. Amy

    Why on earth should we remain open to putting a bill on the Senate floor that does not include a public option?! The people want a public option. Read the polls!

    October 27, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. jayjayaye

    Laurence Peter put it nicely: "There are always too many Domocratic congressmen, too many Republican congressmen, and never enough U.S. congressmen."

    October 27, 2009 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. Believer in the U.S. Constitution

    This is just another example of the Obama Administration going against the U.S. Constitution. What is it about this country that they hate so much? This makes me sick. I served in the military for 3 years, and it makes me angry to see one man, or even one group of people show utter disregard for the Constitution that I, and every other soldier in the United States, has sworn to uphold against all enemies, foriegn and domestic. Wake Up America. If this so called 'Health Care Reform were so good, don't you think that the Senet and House could get it passed the right way?

    October 27, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    The liberal Democrats are determined to ram the public option through. Reid's statement is another test of the public reaction to liberals' forcing their will on our country.
    Many who voted for Obama, including the young and the ignorant, have never seriously considered the results of voting in a Marxist economic system, which sounds too good to be true AND IS.
    A Marxist experiment may not destroy this country completely, but it will throw the USA into misery for about a century before there is a revolution back to capitalism.

    October 27, 2009 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
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