The Road to Reconciliation

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If Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to use reconciliation to pass health care reform, a bipartisan summit notwithstanding, they will need 50 motivated Democratic Senators to do it. Those 50, plus a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Joe Biden, could allow the Senate to pass a set of budget-related modifications to its current bill. This, in turn, could bring the Senate bill closer in line with what House Democrats want. (The GOP has said it intends to gum up the parliamentary works considerably, but the idea of reconciliation is, so far, still very much on the table.)

Now, 50 may or may not be easier to wrangle than the 60 Senate votes Reid corralled just before Christmas. Scott Brown’s election no doubt caused some skittishness among moderate Dems and the upcoming midterm elections are even closer. Mike Madden at Salon has done the legwork of figuring out 11 Democratic Senators Reid is watching/courting to prepare for a reconciliation vote.

Meanwhile, four other senators want Reid to revive the public option. I’ll just say this seems…rather unlikely.