Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Big surprise

Seven Democratic senators and Lieberman come out against reconciliation, including one I hadn't counted on when I made my list, Mark Begich of Alaska. I always figured he knew he was a one-termer and therefore, incorrectly, assumed his vote.
Seven Senate Democrats and one independent, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, cautioned that they were wary of using reconciliation to push ahead with health care reform. Some said the maneuver would show Americans that Democrats had not learned from the Massachusetts election.

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu said she was “leaning against supporting” reconciliation, unless it is used narrowly. “But it would have to be completely transparent and advertised well in advance what those changes are.”

Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, perhaps the most endangered Democrat up for reelection this year, issued a statement saying she “will fight against any attempts to push through changes” to the Senate bill through reconciliation.

“I will not accept any last-minute efforts to force changes to health insurance reform issues through budget reconciliation, and neither will Arkansans,” Lincoln said.

Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor said reconciliation is “certainly not my first choice. I’m not real wild about using that procedure that way.” If it came down to killing health care reform or using reconciliation, Pryor said he will “cross that bridge when I get to it.”

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich said he had “strong reservations.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said Democrats should pass a series of smaller health care bills, and Lieberman said Democrats needed to reach out one last time to Republicans before moving ahead with reconciliation.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said she would not rule out supporting reconciliation. But, she said, she was “not open” to using the maneuver for a comprehensive fix to the Senate bill. And regarding the more narrow, two-step process envisioned by Democratic leaders, McCaskill said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

A scaled-back approach is the path she said she favors. “I think it is better for us to take a bite at the apple that is substantial but not as big.”
That leaves us with 52 Democratic senators, and that's not counting Carper, Webb, Hagan, Johnson, Warner, and Baucus. Lose three of those six, and reconciliation is out.

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