Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, is at odds with some of his liberal colleagues. Unlike Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Harkin thinks it may be hard to keep the 60 members of the Democratic caucus united against Republican filibusters--and that means the party may pass health care reform through the budget reconciliation process.
"I think Democrats being Democrats -- like Will Rogers once said, 'I'm a member of no organized political party: I'm a Democrat' -- I think that holds true today," Harkin told the Iowa Gazette.
Under those circumstances--and with Republicans largely united against all of President Obama's agenda items--how will Democrats possibly pass a major initiative like health care reform? In a budget reconciliation bill, it seems, which can't be filibustered. Harkin called that a "distinct possibility."
Democrats in both chambers are hoping to pass a health care bill through regular order by the beginning of August, and have it ready for the president to sign by October, ahead of the budget reconciliation bill--but time is running out.