Republicans will put up a determined opposition if Democrats try to push their healthcare reform plan through the Senate with a simple majority of votes.
Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., told The Hill newspaper that he has hundreds of procedural objections to pose if Democrats try to speed the legislation through the Senate.
The worry is that Democrats will try to circumvent Senate filibuster rules, using a budget maneuver.
Last week’s death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., means Democrats are one seat short of the 60 needed to end a filibuster. That dynamic, along with the fact that moderate Republicans are turning against the Democrats’ plan has led Democratic leaders to consider using a budget reconciliation bill to pass the plan.
Republicans are telling Democrats that if they try this tactic, their healthcare bill will end up riddled with holes.
Gregg points out that Republicans can raise “hundreds” of points-of-order objections to the bill, each one requiring 60 votes to waive.
“We are very much engaged in taking a hard look at our rights under reconciliation,” Gregg said. “It would be very contentious.”
The budget reconciliation maneuver originally was designed to curb the budget deficit by allowing spending cuts and tax increases to pass by majority vote. Since then, it has been utilized to advance broader laws, such as President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts.
Republican Senators aren’t the only ones opposed to Obama’s healthcare reform. A Rasmussen Reports survey three weeks ago showed that only 42 percent of U.S. voters now favor the plan. Even among Democrats, only 44 percent strongly support the plan.
And the numbers undoubtedly have dropped since then.
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