Dems Plan 51-Vote Maneuver if Brown Wins

But Barney Frank says reform will be dead
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2010 10:18 AM CST
Dems Plan 51-Vote Maneuver if Brown Wins
Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley, right, campaigns with Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Ted, Saturday.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

If Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley in Massachusetts to become the 41st Republican senator, Democrats say they can still pass health care reform. It just may be a scaled down version. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a top House Democrat, tells Bloomberg television that Democrats are prepared to use the tactic of budget reconciliation to pass reform, which requires only 51 votes.

“Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation,” said Van Hollen of the politically volatile maneuver. The bill would have to be stripped of all provisions not directly related to budget-cutting. Despite that option, Barney Frank issued a blunt assessment yesterday, notes Politico: "If Scott Brown wins, it'll kill the health bill." Both he and Van Hollen predicted Coakley would prevail. (More Martha Coakley stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.