Here's what the AP is reporting:
Democratic congressional leaders are coalescing around their last, best hope for salvaging President Barack Obama's sweeping health care overhaul."Bold"? How about maniacal?
Their plan is to pass the Senate bill with some changes to accommodate House Democrats, senior Democratic aides said Monday. Leaders will present the idea to the rank and file this week, but it's unclear whether they have enough votes to carry it out.
Last week's victory by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts cost Democrats the 60th vote they need to maintain undisputed control of the Senate, jeopardizing the outcome of the health care bill just when Obama had brokered a final deal on most of the major issues.
"We've put so much effort into this, so much hard work, and we were so close to doing some significant things. Now we have to find the political path that brings us out. And it's not easy," the No. 2 Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said Monday.
The new strategy is as politically risky as it is bold. [read more]
If ever there were a political suicide mission, Democrat leaders jamming the healthcare bill through now against overwhelming public opposition and the wishes of many of their own party's members would certainly fit the bill.
But they could still do it, and here's how:
- The House could swallow hard, pass the Senate bill as is and send it to the President to sign into law, all in a matter of days. The objections of House members--they're split on the radical new expansion of government funding to include abortion, for example--theoretically could be overcome with leadership's promises to fix their objections with subsequent legislation.
- Under a process known as "reconciliation," changes could be made to sections of the bill that affect taxes and government spending. Those changes could pass the Senate with a majority of just 51 senators, rather than a 60-vote majority.
It's that simple.
- You can reach the offices of any member of Congress at 202-224-3121 or find their numbers here.
- To view a pro-life scorecard showing how your U.S. Representative has voted on key pro-life issues during the current Congress, click here; for votes of your Senators, click here.
- To view or download a letter explaining six major abortion-related problems with the Senate-passed bill, click here.