There's a sense of momentum on health care that Democrats haven't felt for months, even when the Senate passed its bill Christmas Eve, Democrats said. What's more, the majority party is united in realizing they should be painting Republicans as obstructionists at every turn.
Republicans say they will try to block the final health care reform legislation as much as possible, with more ability to slow down the process in the Senate than the House due to the reconciliation process. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) yesterday said it's likely the GOP will raise points of order against the package of fixes Democrats will push through using the limited reconciliation rules.
"If they want to do that, make 'em talk and talk, nights and weekends if needed," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) told me in an interview at the summit. "Show they are recalcitrant and let them stand on the sidelines."
Akaka said in his decades in Congress he's never seen anyone raise the issue challenging the parliamentarian's ruling on reconciliation.