In it, but not of it. TPM DC

C-Ya! Senate Shrugs Off House Health Care Woes

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Newscom / KEVIN DIETSCH

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters that using budget reconciliation to pass a fix bill "is one of the things we need to look at with the change in circumstances," but added that "no decisions have been made."

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who would likely take the lead on moving such a package through the Senate offered no promises either.

"If the House passed the Senate bill, could reconciliation, that process, be used to fix things that might be improved upon? Yes," Conrad told reporters yesterday. "Would I support it? I can't know that without knowing what would be included in the package."

Then there's the separate matter of party camaraderie: Are senators invested in nudging the House to finish the job? Yesterday, I asked Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) whether there was any concerted effort on the part of leading Senate Democrats to help House members get a hold of their nerve. In so many words, he said "no."

"We haven't done that," Durbin said. "We haven't been assigned House members. I happen to live with a couple of them so we talk about it late at night [and] we're trying to find out how they feel about it."

Leadership has also foreclosed on the idea of taking up a full reform bill again--so for now, at least, the House is on its own on Capitol Hill.