February 25th, 2010
06:32 PM ET
13 years ago

Now what? Democratic plans tomorrow same as yesterday

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/21/art.pelosi12.gi.jpg caption="Democrats are 'actively looking into' using reconciliation."]Washington (CNN) - Although the Democrats' public stance will be to let the dust from Thursday's bipartisan health care summit, several senior congressional Democratic sources concede to CNN that their plans moving forward on health care are not likely to be much different tomorrow than they were yesterday.

Democrats are actively looking into using the parliamentary shortcut known as reconciliation to get a health care bill to the President's desk. They are specifically exploring two issues: The ins-and-outs of how the complicated process could work, and whether the votes are there in the Senate and House to execute such a strategy.

On the process, Democratic aides told CNN they are consulting with the parliamentarians in both the House and the Senate on what is possible. The general idea is for the House to pass the Senate bill, and for a package of changes that mirror the President's plan to be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which would only need 51 votes in the Senate.

One question for the parliamentarians is whether it's possible to pass the changes before the House votes on the Senate bill. Many House Democrats said that's the only way they would agree to the complicated scenario, because they don't like the Senate bill, and do not trust the Senate to follow through with a promise to pass the compromise package. House Democrats would likely require an iron clad commitment from Senate Democrats and the President before agreeing to pass the changes first.

Another question Democrats have for the parliamentarians is more fundamental: What can they actually pass through the reconciliation process? The maneuver is only supposed to be used for legislation that affects taxes and the deficit.

Then there is the challenge of whether Democrats even have enough votes to pull off the complicated game plan. Democratic sources told CNN they still aren't completely sure there would even be a 51-vote simple majority in the Senate to finalize health care with the parliamentary short cut.

Although Democratic leaders are already reminding the public that Republicans used reconciliation many times for their legislation, some Democrats may be concerned about a public backlash in the face of GOP accusations that they short-circuited the process.

The House may be even tougher. House Democrats passed their version of health care with a slim majority and will be missing several votes this time around because of vacancies. The lone Republican who voted for the House bill, Louisiana Rep. Joseph Cao, already said he will be a "No" next time around. There may also be some vulnerable Democrats facing tough races this year who decide to change their yes vote to no.

But the biggest obstacle to passing the Senate's health bill in the House and getting it to the president's desk may be abortion. By some estimates, close to a dozen Democrats opposed to abortion rights may vote against the bill because they say it's not strict enough in making sure taxpayer dollars are not spent on the procedure.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Michael from Ventura

    The grand obstructionist party has NEVER had a willingness to negotiate no compromise. ALL compromises have already been made by the Democratic Party. It's time to do this without the people whose only intention is to see this administration fail. Country First my rear-end!They should be ashamed for their hypocrisy and bigotry.

    February 25, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Stanley Porteur

    The Democrats should proceed and pass the Health Care Reform Bill.
    They will never get the Republicans to agree on one thing. The
    Republicans want to attach their name to passing a bill of their
    own. The Republicans wants to sa they put it "shelve the present bill"
    and start over. That does not make since because too much work has been put into the present bil.

    Democrats,do what you need to do, go with the Republicans and pass the bill..

    February 25, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Ohio Dem

    Same old, same old... Neither party does anything except screw taxpayers...

    February 25, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. jp,michigan

    58% of American people do not want this health-care bill. Try shoving down our throats, we will make better choice in the fall who we want in congress.

    February 25, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Dorothy Hall

    Please discontinue my membership to this web site.

    February 25, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. MJ

    Was there ever a doubt that they would use reconciliation? This was just an orchestrated day to benefit the Democrats. Being reminded that the reason Democrats are using more time ... Obama simply states – I AM the President. Shall we all bow.

    February 25, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. TED T

    I feel the President is correct, I would like the same program that the federal employees have!!. I been a Republican for all my life but this time I will not vote for the republican party plus 5 of my family members will not vote Republican. I'm sorry the republicans got their big buddies a big tax cut then bailed them out. they don't need my vote.
    There are some small business owners that are not voting repiblican plus their employees.
    I don't know were they are getting their poles but the people I know want the health plan. The insurance industry has in the pass history screwed the American citizen- they had hearings in the pass with corruption check the "70's"

    February 25, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Tisa

    My family and I just watched the health care summit today. We noticed that many of the republicans talked about the poll of the people and what "we wanted." It is funny because "We" meaning my family have not been part of any poll since election day. So what people are they refering to? I work in healthcare and I see too many people kicked out before it is time or people who come in through the ER that could have waited to see a physician. These people do not have healthcare. A lot leave AMA (Against Medical Advice" when admitted to a room because they just wanted care in the ER and are afraid now they will have to pay. It would be nice if both parties could come to an agreement for the people of the country. Where are all the people that backed our president in the first place? This was not just a new notion that he came up with. He spoke about this during his campaign. Were people voting because it was just something to do...a movement? We need their voices now!

    February 25, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Gerry NH

    It seems that the democrat leaders do not care what the American people want and this health insurance reform is not reform. I guess Obama thinks that bad health care is ok. If everyone in America had the same health care then I have no problem with this. These government employees, union workers, congressional staff want nothing to do with it, that tells you how good it will be.

    February 25, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. indy

    It's nice to know they went into the meeting with an open mind. Apparently closed minds are the one thing both parties have in common!

    February 25, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Scott Stodden

    If Republicans can't work with President Obama and Democrats to do what's right and get the job done then my Democratic family should take matters into there own hands to get the job done and that is to pass affordable comprehensive health care legislation. To wait is wrong and that's what steering me away from supporting President Obama, get serious with these Republicans and say enough is enough you stand with us or against us but were going to do what's right for America. Use the power of reconciliation if Republicans don't want to work with Democrats immediatly. Great job President Obama and to all Democrats on today and standing up for whats right!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. Mike in MN

    The trillion dollar question for Obama and the Democrats is did today's summit flip the majority of voters from opposing Obamacare to supporting it?
    Going into today about a dozen polls all showed a majority of voters opposed to Obamacare. Other polls also showed a majority of voters wanting the current bills killed and for Congress to start over on a new bipartisan bill and also that a majority of voters are opposed to Democrats using reconciliation to pass Obamacare.
    If the summit does not flip voter support, will there be enough Democrats to vote to pass Obamacare without voter support or any Republican votes? The odds are against it I believe.

    February 25, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. KG

    I was not sure what is best before this debate but now I am fully in support of the adminstartion plan for health care. For the first time I can see very clearly that the republicans are clearly playing poltics; I am very very disapointed at the political debat that took place from the republicans - this is the point of view of 100% independent.

    February 25, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Limbaugh is a liberal

    As are republican plans: 'No, no, no!'

    February 25, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Steve N.

    Apparently the President has no idea what the American public wants. The health care reform process is it's own down fall. Keeping the republicans out of the process has hurt him and continues to derail the healthcare reform package. 🙁

    February 25, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Ancient Texan

    They will never "get it". They still are superior to the voters and know much better than mere mortal commoners. So the Dems won't get it until the pink slip from voters come in the November 2010 elections. The GOP is representing the PEOPLE, and the Dems are representing their own arrogant egos.

    February 25, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  17. Travis In Colorado

    So McCain brings up some good points on healthcare, and all Barry Obama can say is that the election is over? Come on OBumbles, where is all this hope and change you promised? Your words are about as empty as the White House.

    February 25, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  18. MAC@Lakewood CO

    The ultimate goal of the democrats is to take health care and put it under government control and anyone who does not believe that needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. I have seen the military health care deteriorate from what I saw when my dad was career active duty and when I sarted my career until I retired. The quality and quanity have gone for the worst to save money and do not believe Congress and the present adminmistration will not do cutbacks to save money on civilians too! MY sons Medicaid has gotten worse and it is hard to find a doctor who wants him as a medicaid patient because they lose money on him and others. They have to be forced to take them! Do anything possible to drop anything in the current or future bill that would give government a foot in the door to move to universal health care!

    February 25, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  19. Doraine Gordon

    The Republicans came across today looking like 3rd graders. McConnell sat there timing the speakers and complained that the Democrats got 52 minutes and the Republicans got 24 minutes during the 1st hour. Boehner and Cantor stacked the bill up in front of them for a prop. McCain talked like he was still on the campaign trail. How childish can you get? Everything the Republicans said was scripted. They had already made up their minds before the summit even started. How can these people sleep at night or look at themselves in a mirror? They are all despictable!

    February 25, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  20. annie s

    What is wrong with these people? Americans are dying needlessly every day due to lack of health coverage. Americans are facing bankruptcies every day due to medical costs. And more and more of us will lose coverage every day. Yet these pompous fools are going to vote over single issues that can be resolved later on? I have no problem with their opposition to abortion; but maybe they should start thinking about saving some lives that have already been born.

    February 25, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Keith in Austin

    What a joke!

    February 25, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. annie against biased news

    Did anyone count how many lies the so-called president told today. Oh, that's right it would have been easier to count any truths he told- 0.

    February 25, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    I expect these lunatics to manipulate the system by any means necessary to cram their health care folly through Congress, against the desires of the majority of citizens.
    I support a woman's right to choose abortion 100%. However, if opposition to abortion is what it takes to stop President Obama here, then good–let's drop that bomb instead of trying to reason with crazy people.
    God moves in mysterious ways.

    February 25, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. S Callahan

    I think if the Dems use the shortcut they are looking like the rotten tomatoe in this. Get the 'real' debate going....talk it out..that is what you were elected for and what you get paid by the taxpayers for.
    Remember, the best of decisions always hold compromise.

    February 25, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. sandy

    Lets do it!! Quit talking about it, do it.

    February 25, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
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