Updated: 2:41 p.m.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday reiterated his intention to salvage Congress health care reform efforts, even as he acknowledged that Democratic leaders have yet to figure out a way to get over the procedural hurdles that they may encounter in trying to revive the issue. Were going to move forward. Were going to do health care reform this year, Reid told reporters. The question is procedurally how do we do it.Reid said he is looking very, very closely at a potential scenario where the House would simply pass the Senate-approved bill and then both chambers would pass a supplemental measure to address the Houses concerns under budget reconciliation rules, which would protect the second measure from a GOP-led filibuster.Asked whether that plan was still alive and viable for him, Reid said: Its something were going to take a hard look at. Its something were looking at very, very closely. Thats where a lot of the procedural problems come in. Its real tough to do it the right way and we dont know how to do that yet.Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), however, indicated there could be a time limit on how long Democrats can wait to use the reconciliation route, given the instructions that would allow Democrats to use the procedure apply only until a new budget is passed. There could be a time constraint there based on a new budget resolution. ... The authority for reconciliation is under the old budget resolution, he told reporters. Theres no specific time limit, but you have to pass a budget resolution before you can start the appropriations committee allocations. So it all sequences.While the deadline for passing a new budget resolution is April 15 of every year, Congress routinely blows past that date.Asked whether he believes leaders could corral 51 votes for a reconciliation bill, Durbin said: It depends on whats in the package. We cant assume we have 51 votes. We need to present a package. Though Reid would only need a simple majority, or 51 votes, to pass a reconciliation bill, several moderate Democrats have already expressed outright opposition or skepticism about using those rules to force through the controversial health care bill. With 59 Members in his caucus now, Reid could only afford to lose nine votes, assuming Vice President Joseph Biden would vote to break a tie in favor of the bill. Meanwhile, Reid said he agreed with President Barack Obamas focus on the economy and job creation in Wednesday nights State of the Union address. Reid formally announced that Democrats would move several different job creation measures throughout this year but said that agenda would also include financial regulatory reform, health care reform and an energy bill.Were going to have a jobs agenda. Were going to do more than one thing, Reid said. We will announce that sometime next week.Reid added that the strategy of moving several bills instead of one massive measure gives the Republicans an opportunity to work with us.Senate Democrats were briefed Thursday afternoon on the jobs proposals that Reid is planning on pushing.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.