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. Pat M

    Congress needs to clean up their own act first, stop spending money on other silly projects – like funding air traffic into small towns, spending billions of dollars on elections, etc. AFter they clean up their own act, then lets talk about Health care. Congress has no problem mandating us, but can't even mandate themselves. Call you congressman and demand action!

    October 26, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. New Yorker

    Clyburn, just one problem use that option and you can count on losing your majority next time around.

    October 26, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Michelle

    Now get rid of the opt out portion, and you have a bill!

    October 26, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. Michelle

    Of course no republican will vote for it, and I hope that they are forced to get off their government run program, and that their constituents who agree with them will give back their Medicare coverage and go find something more expensive with fewer services as well. Anyone who is against cost containment and covering everyone is just dumb.

    October 26, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |

    Yeah dont mind that the will of the people is overwhelmingly against a public option, he will just force it through. when are you idiot dems in congress gonna realize that we are a right wing country. Always have always will

    October 26, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  6. New Age Independent

    Yep, if the Democrats can't do it the right way... find a procedural way to circumvent it. Typical Democrats. It's time to throw these idiots out on their collected rear ends!

    October 26, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  7. Jeremy

    I hope the dems do use reconciliation. Republicans will be voted back into power faster than 1994.

    October 26, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. S M R

    I'd go Reconciliation just to "RAM IT DOWN THEIR THROAT".

    October 26, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. Artie

    The phrase should be" ram it down their throats cause we got the power"! " Heck we don't care if any of them have health care its about power politics" !

    October 26, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Bri

    finally! We've been waiting for the Dems to start working to keep thier promises to us.

    October 26, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. Mary

    I say let's get on with passing the health care reform bill with democrats. No matter what is done, republicans will never sign on. remember, they are the party of no and they want to see President Obama and the Demoncrats fail. Use the "Reconsiliation". Don't wast anymore time on the republicans, they just want to stall so they can say they won. Don't be fooled by them, not now!

    October 26, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    Allowing states to OPT out could mean bad news for the REPUBLI-CAN'Ts because I know if MY state opts out, they will hear from ME and a lot more!!!

    October 26, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    Wake up New Jersey. Get rid of this loser.

    October 26, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  14. Kevin in Ohio

    If reconciliation is used to ram this down our throats, there will be a huge price to pay. And that's not just politically. We'll ALL be bankrupt if government takes over health care.

    October 26, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Marie in California

    If they use reconciliation to pass a healthcare bill that NO Republican supports, the Democrats are going to really get axed in the 2010 midterm elections. Even if Olympia Snow ultimately proves to be the lone Republican to support the bill, the Dems will STILL get axed next year.....no matter how much they then try to claim it's a 'bipartisan' bill.

    The U.S. is not a single-party country and the Dems would do well to remember that. Electoral college votes aside, almost half of Americans....something like 48% if I recall correctly....voted for McCain.

    October 26, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. JJ1234

    If they cant get the filibuster proof senate to pass without reconciliation the bill isnt good enough. They dont need the republicians just put together a good bill.

    October 26, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. nathan smith ga

    this is great news. God bless all those who show mercy and get healthcare for all americans.

    October 26, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. Jerry Lucas Indiana

    Push it all the way as you cannot get it done without this. Most American do not want this but, their are some that think this is the fix all. We must QUIT spending money we do not have because we feel that we are owed this.

    So let us push this on all the people even those that do not want it and in the end we can tell stories to our kids how we gave thier country away because a few thought this was great. It is ok because at the end of it all we have to pay for the mistakes of leaders that feel that do not have to listen to the many because of the few

    October 26, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. dale

    God these dem's gotta go. They are lying and not listening. The majority don't want this. Period... It will just raise taxes.

    October 26, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. Bull

    Reid my lips..... He's lying to us, America !

    October 26, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  21. Seattle Sue

    Isn't reconciliation the way Republicans got Bush"s tax cuts for the wealthy through? Go for it Harry!

    October 26, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  22. Reid - the face of Socialism.

    I don't know which looks and sounds the most like a hack Socialist – Reid, or Kucinich. Both would look perfectly at home viewing the May Day Parade from the balcony of the Kremlin.

    October 26, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Obamacare stinks! (OF COURSE CNN will NOT publish this)

    Obama wants to cut hundreds of billions from Medicare Advantage, the privately run plans that offer seniors a better deal (and more REAL choice) – at the SAME cost - than conventional Medicare.

    And he wants to shift Medicare patients to anonymous teams of health care providers - instead of individual doctors, who have been serving their senior patients for years – and whom these seniors know and trust.

    Not only is this an affront to all seniors in general –YOUR parents and grandparents (who have PAID their entire working life for these benefits) – it will also rape health care benefits of the hundreds of thousands of retired and actively serving military men and women – who currently have an Advantage Plan called TriCare.

    So who wins? NOT seniors and NOT our brave military men and women.

    NO – it is the “estimated” 35 million to 40 uninsured - about one-fourth of whom are foreign born and are here illegally – who win.

    So ONE ineffectual "president" and a few hundred "legislators" have the right to do this?

    If this doesn’t stink to high heaven, I don’t know what does!

    October 26, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. teflon warrior

    Yeah, where is the rising above party politics the "Annointed One" kept describing? in the toilet with any Bi-partisanship. Politics as usual, just wait, 2010 is around the corner!

    October 26, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. Chad

    yes. get it done.

    October 26, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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