House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are looking for a solution to the health care conundrum and are facing some tough realities. They know the House won't pass the Senate health care bill unless it can be sure the Senate will act on separate piece of legislation amending a number of its key provisions. And they know that many of these changes--particularly to the tax structure of the Senate bill--would likely only pass by circumventing a filibuster using the so-called budget reconciliation process.
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The duo are working through a number of possibilities, including a new idea, floated by several House members, to expedite the reconciliation strategy. But, as always, nothing's as easy as it seems.
"There are obviously a handful of ideas that people are looking at," said a House Democratic aide. "We passed a student loan bill in the House. That's sitting over in the Senate. One idea that has been discussed is to, on that bill, amend it to address the concerns about the Senate [health care] bill, primarily the Cadillac tax, and the Nebraska [Medicaid] deal; have the Senate pass that under reconciliation, have that come back to us, we pass it, and we also vote on the Senate bill."