Critical Condition

Democrats Holding Reconciliation in Reserve Pending Summit

From Fox News:

Senate Democrats may go into the bipartisan health care reform summit later this month holding a legislative gun to Republicans’ heads.  

Some Democrats are readying a health care reform “Plan B” in case negotiations at the half-day televised forum on Feb. 25 go nowhere. The plan would involve passing part of the imperiled health care bill using reconciliation, a controversial procedural maneuver that would allow the package to pass with 51 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required to overcome a filibuster. 

“I think a decision has just been made — we’re just going to go ahead” with a reconciliation bill, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters. 

A senior Democratic Senate aide clarified that Democrats are heading in that direction, though they are waiting to see what happens on Feb. 25 before making a decision. 

Under the Plan B, the House would pass the version of the health care reform the Senate passed on Christmas Eve. From there, the Senate would use reconciliation to pass certain changes to the health care bill to keep it more in line with House Democrats’ wishes. Finally, Congress would tackle other non-budgetary issues, like abortion funding, that cannot be addressed in the reconciliation process. 

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