Democrats Attempt To Move Forward On Health-Care Overhaul Bill

For Immediate Release:

February 2, 2010

Contact:Fawn Johnson and Patrick Yoest

Dow Jones

House and Senate leaders said separately Tuesday that they hope to find a way to revive a health-care overhaul bill, even though the situation looks bleak with the recent loss of the Senate's filibuster-proof majority.

"We plan to do health care this year and do it as soon as possible," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) told reporters after a weekly meeting with Democratic senators.

Republican Scott Brown's win in a Massachusetts special election to fill a U.S. Senate seat means that Democrats will now lose their 60-40 majority, which allowed them to break Republican moves to block legislation.

Reid and other Senate leaders will huddle with House Democrats and White House officials later Tuesday to plot out how to move forward on the stalled health measure.

"I don't think time is running out" on health care, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.). Still, he noted the difficulty of passing even small-scale legislation, such as reforms to the health insurance market.

"I anticipate making a decision just as soon as the way forward is clear," Hoyer said.

Senate Democrats haven't yet ruled out a procedural maneuver that bypasses the 60-vote threshold to pass bills in the Senate, according to Reid. "Everything is an option," he said, when asked about the tactic called reconciliation.

Reconciliation would be a difficult choice for Democrats in passing health-care legislation. It is a divisive move that would sour already poor relationships with Republicans.

The tactic also would require Democrats to alter several parts of the package, making it more difficult to win House approval.

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