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. mjm

    Once again the Democrats try to change the rules to suit their needs of the moment.

    If they use Reconciliation it will be because they lack the Democrat votes, not the Republican votes.

    Everyone will lose with this public option. It's not reform in any way, shape or form. This bill does not address TORT reform, shopping for insurance across state lines or private co-ops for small businesses.

    The Finance Committee said no to the public option for a reason. It's called COST. We will never be able to pay for the public option, just like we can't afford Medicare now.

    The public option is a pay back to UAW, the teacher's unions, and every other union out there

    October 26, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. Will in Carson City

    Talk about the proverbial nail in the coffin if he pulls this stunt.

    October 26, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Emma

    My insurance rates are going to climb by about $30.00 each month if I re-enroll in my current plan. They will be over $1000.00 a year. I am getting letters frequently that tell me to inform them very soon what my decision will be. I am holding off until I see what Congress comes up with. I hope we will have a public option for 2010.

    To me, it is indefensible that the Republicans and some of the Democrats do not vote the way their constituencies want them to.

    October 26, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  4. Jim

    I think the people have spoken, and quite clearly. We don't want a government run health Care bill. That's why the Democrats are having such a hard time passing it. To ignore the view of the majority of Americans and strong arm this bill through, will be a disaster for the future of the democrat party. Get off the ego trip and listen to the Public who you work for and do the right thing.

    October 26, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. ib

    This is disgusting and the left wingers will pay for stuff like this in 2010. We will take our country back; people are sick of crap like this.

    October 26, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Diesel

    Screw Bipartisanship.....repubicans wont vote for anything except if it helps the RICH Insurance companys who are lining thier pockets.
    As a matter of fact I don't see any of them doing anything on capital hill.. GET THEM OUT!

    October 26, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. A.B.

    I think that Senator Reid and President Obama should corral all of the Liberal and Conservative Democrats together and gain some consensus on the Public Option and then proceed. Forget about Olympia Snowe and the Republicans since they were never on board with healthcare reform in the first place and in the second place, their real agenda is to slow down and eventually kill any healthcare reform initiative. I want to see party discipline and solidarity in the Democratic Party. President Obama should be inculcating both and showing leadership in this issue. Everyone should be marching in lock step in the same direction on this issue. To do this, everyone has to put aside his/her petty preferences and agendas and do what is good for the nation as well as the party. Doing this would be the salvation of the nation and the party.

    October 26, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. Democrat

    Now will they provide us the same type of service that they are providing us with the pig flu vacine? You know, we give them money and then we wait and wait and wait and then nothing.

    October 26, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    It's just about guaranteed that any Democrats, or Olympia Snowe, for that matter, who votes via reconciliation for this egregious waste of money will put themselves directly in the sights of every Repunlican, Independent, and fiscal conservative in the country. People just aren't going to stand for that kind of heavy-handed tyranny. 2010 and 2012 will become single-issue elections decided long before election day.

    And my guess is that the Democrats and Olympia Snowe know this. They have a choice: They can appease the far-left, or they can keep their jobs. They can't do both. It's that simple.

    October 26, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    It's just about guaranteed that any Democrats, or Olympia Snowe, for that matter, who votes via reconciliation for this egregious waste of money will put themselves directly in the sights of every Republican, Independent, and fiscal conservative in the country. People just aren't going to stand for that kind of heavy-handed tyranny. 2010 and 2012 will become single-issue elections decided long before election day.

    And my guess is that the Democrats and Olympia Snowe know this. They have a choice: They can appease the far-left, or they can keep their jobs. They can't do both. It's that simple.

    October 26, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  11. Barack reads his lies, Unions Thrive and the Economy dies.

    I hope he uses it, it will wipe out any chance the Dems have in the next election. Go for it, love it. 2012 we will repeal the balogna. Read the polls, this dude called Obama is steadily tanking at the fastest rate in approval of any President since the polls were taken.

    Do it Democrats, make it crystal clear of how much you are willing to turn your backs on the American people. The revenge will be sweet in 2010 and 2012. Can't wait.

    October 26, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. james P.

    By "forecasting" outrageous price increases if the proposed projects become law, the private insurances have factually telegraphied what they intend to do.

    As competition between the HBOs is a story for innocents (see what happens with the "competition" between the oil companies), now a public (or a publicly regulated coop) option is the only alternative left to avoid a catastrophical further increase of cost of healthcare in the US, already by far the most expensive in the world and of mediocre average quality, even if the medical science is the most advanced here

    October 26, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  13. Marie Laveaux

    Betcha the states that opt out will be the ones whose citizens need it the most, and will be mainly( if not all) Red states. It's time to quit copping out on this.

    October 26, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. happylady2

    FINALLY! Get 'er done guys.

    October 26, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  15. STILL unemployed in Iowa

    Whats the use to say anything, democrates dont listen nor do they respect the American people. Why Vote, Why Complain, Why even say anything. Obama wants to be a black dictator and the Democrates have their own private agendas to control your life. So why vote why complain why say anything.

    October 26, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. Ted Tartaglia

    Don't talk about it, just do it if the Repubs try to filibuster.

    October 26, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Sure, get this version passed, let the south opt out and the rest of the country can have cheaper health care. Otherwise, use reconciliation. Republicans did it for their tax cuts to the wealthy paid for via a credit card so why not?

    October 26, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. JP

    Some estimates show that up to 200 billion a year could be saved with comprehensive medical malpractice reform if Dr's didn't have to practice defensive medicine. Has anyone calculated how much more taxpayers will pay because the trial lawyers are more important than taxpayers.

    October 26, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  19. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Reconciliation = Democrats way of making their own rules when they can't get what they want in a fair vote. I'd expect no less from the party of Obozo.

    October 26, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. greg

    just do it now, everyone is hurting from increasing health care

    October 26, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  21. Greg, MN

    That would be a bigger demise for the Dumbacrats. There are several liberal senators in moderate states that have stated reconciliation is NOT an option for them. Reid is an Idiot. No use trying to argue with him.

    October 26, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Laura

    Do it! It seems to be the only way to get this passed with a good public option that doesn't pander to the republicans or the blue dogs!

    October 26, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. ClintonFan

    Don't listen to Dick Durbin. Use reconciliation. There is no need to be Mr. nice guy when you are dealing with the Rethugs.

    October 26, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. USN

    There is no OPT OUT . You still have to pay , just like for schools when you have no kids! Its more Obama smoke and mirrors untill we are stuck !

    October 26, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Senator Reid should use reconciliation, it is the only was the bill is ever going to pass, and it will cement the demise of this brand of "democracy" once and for all.

    October 26, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
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