The health care summit hosted by President Obama on Thursday, February 25, 2010 was not successful in breaking the Congressional stalemate, with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell saying in the aftermath of the session that he doubted the president could win even one Republican vote were he to completely retool his health care proposals.
Rather than winning an outright victory, it would seem that the Democrats in Congress will instead use an obscure and controversial parliamentary tactic known as reconciliation, which requires only 51 Senate votes to bring the stalled package to the president’s desk.
Nancy-Anne DeParle, the director of the White House office of health reform, said on the NBC Sunday news program “Meet the Press” that she felt confident the maneuver will work. “We will have the votes to pass this in Congress,” she said, adding that the President would make a statement later in the week “about the best way to move forward.”
Republicans, however, are calling on the Democrats to start over with a plan incorporating more measured provisions that would secure GOP backing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, defended her party, saying the Democrats are not “ramming” health care reform through Congress when she appeared on “State of the Union” on CNN. The Republicans, she said, “have had plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard.”
Pelosi also acknowledged that by voting for the legislation, some Democrats may well sacrifice their seats in the November elections. However, she said, “we’re not here just to perpetuate our service in Congress. We’re here to do the job for the American people.”
If the nation will respond positively to health care reform in the wake of the bitter controversy over the subject, which may end in what many will perceive as a political trick, remains to be seen.