Reid, at White House, Acknowledges Limits of Reconciliation
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged Tuesday that moving health care reform legislation as a Democratic-only bill under reconciliation would not achieve as much as legislation passed under regular order.“We can get it through that way, but it’s not as robust a bill,— Reid said of the reconciliation option in comments to Roll Call. Reid, who spoke at the White House after a meeting with President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was not specific about what would have to be left out.He also said he expects a markup of legislation by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) next week. The Baucus bill represents the best chance to pick up Republican support.With the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) two weeks ago, Democrats now have 59 votes and will need to corral at least one Republican into their camp and hold onto wavering moderates in order to pass the bill by a filibuster-proof margin. There has been substantial debate among legislative experts about how much of the legislation can be moved under reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority.In remarks to reporters, Reid repeatedly called for a bipartisan bill. “We still, after all these months, have a place at the table for Republicans,— Reid said. “We’ve had a huge table.—Pelosi said a public insurance option needs to be part of legislation that moves in the House, but she declined to comment on whether a “trigger— could be part of the mix.During the meeting, Obama outlined to Reid and Pelosi what he will say in his speech to Congress on Wednesday night, in which he is expected to offer fresh specificity about what type of legislation he wants. The leaders indicated they were supportive of the approach Obama will outline.