Senate Prepares to Pick Up Fight

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Senate Prepares to Pick Up Fight

Roll Call – Senate Democrats on Monday are set to pick up the battle over health care reform where the House left off, but the path forward remains uncertain as Republicans comb the reconciliation package for weaknesses and Democrats hunker down in an attempt to preserve the integrity of the bill.

“It will be important that we stay together so we can keep the bill strong,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. “We won’t want to erode the bill just because certain people from certain states might want to do something. So, we will to a certain extent have to work together on this.”

Countered National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas): “We’ll either bring down the whole bill, or we’ll punch big holes in it.”

All 41 Senate Republicans previously made clear in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that they have no intention of helping Democrats to retain any portions of the bill that are subject to points of order. Additionally, liberal Democrats may also want to offer amendments to the bill — including on adding a public insurance option.

But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has said that Democrats would be asked to defeat any and all amendments, even ones they might support, in an effort to pass the bill, unchanged, and get it to the president’s desk.

Late last week, rank-and-file Democrats said they were ready for the looming health care fight.

“I think if the Republicans are acting like they have for the last 14 months, then they’re going to want to do whatever they can to delay,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said. “And if that means voting all night, we should vote all night — and the next night and the next night, until they run out of energy.”

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