Democrats plan for getting Health Care Plan through Congress

The NY Times has the story here:

WASHINGTON — With solid majorities in both houses of Congress, Democrats are tempted to use their political muscle to speed passage of health care legislation with minimal concessions to the Republican minority.

That approach may be the only way they can fulfill President Obama’s campaign promises, but it carries high risks as well.

In the budget blueprint for the coming year, Democrats may resort to an obscure procedure known as reconciliation to clear the way for Senate passage of a comprehensive health bill with a 51-vote majority, rather than the 60 votes that would otherwise be needed.

“It may be a struggle to get to 60,” said Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, who is working on the legislation.

Use of the expedited procedure, to prevent a Senate filibuster, could both help and hurt the Democrats. It would enable them to overcome Republican objections to a big increase in federal spending and a huge expansion in the role of government. On the other hand, it could fundamentally alter the political dynamic of the health care debate, detonating an explosive reaction among Republican senators who have been working with Democrats on the issue.

If Democrats use the fast-track procedure, it would be tantamount to “a declaration of war,” said Senator Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, the senior Republican on the health committee. . . . .

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