Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama to Offer Health Bill to Ease Impasse as Bipartisan Meeting Approaches

From the New York Times:

President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday.

Democratic officials said the president’s proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.

The Times cautions, however, that congressional Democrats have not yet seen or signed on to the proposal, and that it is not clear whether the votes will be there to pass it.

Update: Huffington Post reports that "Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that's the legislative path the party chooses," and notes that "[t]his represents a major breakthrough for those Senators and activists who are pushing to get a public option considered via an up or down vote."

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