October 26th, 2009
07:58 PM ET
11 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. Shaniqua from chicago

    do whatever you haveto do i need my free helth care

    October 26, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Cindy

    What ever it takes, Sen. Reid... what ever it takes.

    Hey and, while I'm at it... Tort Reform: I'll bet Lisa Strong's doctors are begging for it's passage now. Unbelievable... what a strange country we live in..

    October 26, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. Lonnie

    Reconciliation is an option and voting out anyone that supports the unamerican underhanded socialist policies of Reid, Pelousi, and Obama. Remember who votes yes and vote no to them in 2010.

    October 26, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. Ex-NC-Pub

    Show some guts Harry and go for it. "NO" rush-beck-licans will vote "NO" however it is designed!

    October 26, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  5. marion/alabama

    Opt out plan.that is like,your kids not taking candy after trick or treating. Give me a break.Dirty Harry thinks we are all stupid and If Neveda voters send him back to office I will believe they are sheeple,like the idoits that keep re-electing Pelosi.... How stupid is this,does the state that opts out still have to pay,thru taxes,or some other dues,for the states that do not? How would that be done? like Social Security,where if you pay in everyone gets to draw from it?No wonder government programs are failures,with the fools we keep sending to run our country.

    October 26, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Justin M

    Dont let states choose if I get health coverage or not. We voted for a democratic majority to address this issue. If you are not rock firm in your choice, it will be as useless to the people as not having the option at all.

    October 26, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Steve-Illinois

    Let the Democrats own this baby!!! Like my Daddy used to say, "ya can't polish a turd!"

    October 26, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Albo58

    Naturally Clyburn would want to have the Senate perform some sort of misdirection procedure in order to circumvent Democracy and the American way! He like so many Dimwits actually believe that they are entitled to some sort of government hand-out at the expense of the American taxpayer! Throw these parasites out of Washington NOW!

    October 26, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. terry,va

    Harry Reid is an idiot and an Obummie boot licker. No reasonable person believes in their socialist agenda. Bend over kids of generations to come. Change has come and your hope of having something is gone.

    October 26, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Independent Senior in Bandon, Oregon

    What happens if a state decides to "opt out" of the public option?

    What happens when residents of that state want it but the gov says "no?"

    I will be those residents will move to a state that HAS the public option!

    Or sue their state, and they should!

    October 26, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. annie against biased news

    The reconciliation will come on election day!

    October 26, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. Tony in Maine

    Tyranny by the minority with the acquiescence of the majority...

    ...weird doesn't begin to describe it.

    A new character for The Wizard of Oz – a donkey singing about wanting to get a spine.

    October 26, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    It isn't bipartisanship, Rep. Clyburn. It's called democracy and reconciliation subverts that. Put it up for a vote. If it passes, fine. If it doesn't, go back to the drawing board. Reconciliation is a rule that shouldn't even exist, for either party.

    October 26, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. Peoples Voice

    You bet cha, buddy. If the Repukes and Dirty Dogs don't want to play, then kick them out of the game.

    October 26, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  15. Johnny DC

    The fact that it's "always an option" is why the Democrats in power will not be there long.

    The right answer to any question on reconciliation is that it "should be used in only the most emergency of situations" regarding budgetary circumstances.

    Just because you have a 53% mandate doesn't give you the right to circumvent the law to completely ignore the wills of the 47% minority.... unless you're a Liberal, I suppose?

    October 26, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. Jon

    Are you kidding me... Again the jokers in Washington (no matter what party) have to resort to legislative tricks. I think that using reconciliation to pass a bill of this importance will be the end of the Democrates majority in both houses of congress. The majority of this country will respond to any legislative trick to pass this bill as an attack on our individual rights (sorry liberals but facts are facts). It is a violation of our right to force us to pay for something like health insurance (again sorry liberals but it is a fact). I do believe, it is time to tell the left liberals and right conservatives (both of which make up less than 30%) that our country in not going to be controlled be either of them anymore. Please will true moderate independent people form a viable 3rd party.

    October 26, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Barbara -

    I know this blog is about health care.... and I'm pleased to see some action with the public option. Hopefully, States will have a referendum or some kind of vote BEFORE they opt out and deprive their citizenry of the choice.

    In a non-related item, having read the Elizabeth Edwards' story after the blog closed, I would like to use this blog say how totally moved I was by a post there by "Michael in Las Vegas"....You brought tears to my eyes, and a new understanding that men, too, can be caring, kind, wise and totally loving. Thank you for lifting my day.

    Hoping that you read this.

    Barbara – Canada

    October 26, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  18. Bull

    Reid is a total jerk and the perfect example of what is wrong with politics in America.

    Absolutely never attempts to unite, always working to divide the nation.

    October 26, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. On the other hand...

    "I don't think there will be a single Republican voting for whatever we do on the House side," Clyburn said.
    There would be if you came up with a plan that did not increase the cost of health care. Spending $900 billion to increase the cost of health care in the US is ignorant and irresponsible in today's economic environment.

    October 26, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. sick of the Bull

    Don't do it Harry or you will lose for sure. On second thought.....

    October 26, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    Another Hypocrite of the democrat party.

    October 26, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  22. LacrosseDad

    people, please tell the two clowns-Reid...PeLIEsi– that everything they shovel down out throats this year will ALL be undone in 2012.

    October 26, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. hal

    The Demo-rats make me sick- I hope they are voted out in 2010.

    October 26, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Chipster

    Democrats worked hard to gain a majority so that this and other progress could be made. If our time and financial support for these candidates was wasted, it will be a long --long time before Democrats will turn out again. I won't go door to door and ask people to support these candidates when they fail to deliver real reform. What can I say when Democratic voters ask me to explain why a 60-member majority fails to pass the legislation that they worked so hard for?

    October 26, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Eric in Denver

    Good bye America, Hello socialism. A 2.2 percent profit by insurance carriers has led the crazies on the left of the aisle to ruin America. Congratulations lefties enjoy your last couple of years in office. The conservative party will be taking over both the house and senate in the next couple of years.

    October 26, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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