Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Consensus on Health Care Reform Means More Than 70 Senate Votes

The Clintons have been criticized for agreeing to allow their 1993 health care reform plan to be subject to the Senate’s 60-vote rule. With the Democrats controlling what will end up to be 59 or 60 votes in the new Congress, some are arguing that the Democrats should move quickly and get their plan passed under the budget rules that would require only a simple majority.

Trying to get legislation so fundamental as health care reform passed with 52 or 53 votes would be a big mistake.

The American people need to see a real bipartisan consensus before they will feel comfortable that something so far reaching and complex is OK to do. If there is a big bipartisan majority our people will trust the reform plan—particularly when the widespread and media savvy negative attacks start from the stakeholders destined to lose the most.

Without a broad based bipartisan consensus, the critics will rip any meaningful plan to pieces. When the day is done those 52 or 53 votes will melt to 40 and we will have failed again.

And without a real consensus, the Democrats will have nothing guaranteed in the House either where at least 50 “Blue Dog” Democrats aren’t about to jump on just anything.

President-Elect Obama has repeatedly talked about the importance of moving forward in a collaborative and bipartisan manner. I hope he stays on that track as he begins to engage on health care.
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