Reid: Massachusetts Senator May Help Us Avoid Controversial Health Care Strategy

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In a timely profile this morning by Roll Call‘s Emily Pierce, Senate Majority Leader explains in his own words something I reported last night.

Reid said he is hopeful the Massachusetts Legislature will soon vote to allow the governor to appoint a replacement for Kennedy so he will again be able to call on 60 Senators, but he said that has not stopped Democrats from pursuing one of the few Republicans seen as open to bipartisan compromise — Snowe.

“They’re working on a Senator up in Massachusetts,” Reid said. “There are different ways we can get to 60 votes. It’s not just dependent totally on her. I hope we can [get Snowe’s vote]. She’s a good legislator.”

But he said he is doing everything he can to avoid using reconciliation to pass health care reform.

“I would rather do a bill that we can get 60 votes on, either on a bipartisan basis or a partisan basis,” he said.

If and when Democrats have a 60 vote majority, that changes the calculus somewhat. And though Snowe will continue to be a focal point of negotiations, the ultimate onus for the passage of health care reform will ultimately be on Democrats.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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