Aug 23, 2009 13 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is signaling that he’s nearly ready to give up on bipartisan health care reform talks in favor of options that could be pursued solely by Democrats.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Schumer made three separate mentions of trying to push a health care bill through the Senate with all 60 Democratic votes, regardless of whether Republicans are on board.
“We could get a public option that could be passed with the 60 Democratic votes we have,” Schumer said.
While insisting that he prefers a bipartisan approach, Schumer said his patience for the Senate Finance Committee negotiations is running out.
“Theyâ€™re bending over backwards but at some point soon after we get back, if we donâ€™t have a bipartisan bill weâ€™ll never be able to meet the goal of having a bill signed into law by the end of the year,” the New York Democrat said. “We are considering alternatives. They include just getting 60 Democratic votes and maybe an occasional Republican here or thereâ€¦.They include looking at reconciliation which only needs 51â€¦â€¦It’s looking less and less likely that certainly the Republican leadership in the House and Senate will go for a bipartisan bill.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who joined Schumer on the show, said Democrats should not try to use reconciliation to force through a bill which could not overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
“If they use that, that would be an abuse of the process,” Hatch said. He also said creating a government health plan open to all would be a grave mistake. “If we do that, weâ€™ll bankrupt the country.”