February 23, 2010 |
On the eve of President Obama's planned healthcare summit, Democratic lawmakers are increasingly confident that they can resurrect their sweeping overhaul legislation after weeks of uncertainty about whether they could overcome the unified opposition of Republicans. Democratic leaders, who have struggled to find a way to unify their own ranks, have settled on a strategy to avoid a Republican filibuster by convincing wary House Democrats to pass unchanged the healthcare bill approved by the Senate last year and send it directly to Obama for his signature.
February 4, 2010 |
President Obama and the Democrats relinquished a crucial Senate seat Thursday as Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts was sworn in to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Republicans gleefully welcomed Brown, whose presence as the 41st GOP vote will make it much easier for them to delay or alter initiatives they oppose -- including the healthcare overhaul that has stalled ever since his upset victory last month. "This was a high-profile election," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.
January 28, 2010 |
Laying out a possible path to approving healthcare legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said Wednesday that the House should pass the Senate's version and then use a process known as "budget reconciliation" to make the changes some lawmakers are demanding. The politically fraught strategy might allow Democrats to salvage a version of the overhaul that senior lawmakers pushed through the House and Senate late last year. Because budget reconciliation requires only a simple majority in the Senate, it could enable Democrats to circumvent a threatened GOP filibuster.
January 18, 2010 |
President Obama swooped into Massachusetts on Sunday on a mission to rescue his party's struggling U.S. Senate candidate and prevent the collapse of the Democrats' healthcare overhaul. "Understand what's at stake here," Obama told a spirited crowd of about 1,500 people assembled in a small arena at Northeastern University. "It's whether we're going forwards or going backwards." Massachusetts, which has not elected a Republican to the Senate since the Nixon administration, may have been the last place Obama expected to show up this month.
December 20, 2009 |
After a dramatic month of sometimes round-the-clock negotiating and deal-making, Senate Democrats came together Saturday behind sweeping healthcare legislation, providing a powerful boost for President Obama's top domestic policy goal. The breakthrough came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his lieutenants engineered a delicately crafted compromise to prevent federal funding of abortions, the same issue that nearly stopped the House from passing its healthcare bill six weeks ago. With the deal, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a strong opponent of abortion, became the 60th and crucial last member of the Democratic caucus to line up behind the healthcare legislation.
November 22, 2009 |
Without a vote to spare, Democrats pushed their healthcare legislation over its first obstacle on the Senate floor Saturday, as the chamber voted to begin formal debate on a sweeping measure to guarantee medical coverage for nearly all Americans. The 60-39 vote, backed by all 58 Democrats and two independents, overcame a Republican-led filibuster designed to block consideration of the bill and kept up momentum behind President Obama's top legislative priority. Although it was only procedural, the dramatic balloting -- before a rare packed gallery on a Saturday night -- also set the stage for a much-anticipated healthcare debate that is expected to begin after Thanksgiving and consume the Senate for the remainder of the year.
November 18, 2009 |
Democrats on Tuesday crushed a Senate filibuster against a controversial appeals court nominee, demonstrating to Republicans that they cannot stop President Obama from turning the federal judiciary to the left. The 70-29 vote limited debate over the qualifications of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana and assured his elevation to the Chicago-based appeals court. Sixty votes were needed to end the filibuster, but confirmation requires only a simple majority of the 100-member Senate.
October 16, 2009 |
After months of keeping a low profile on healthcare, there was Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on the Don Imus radio show this week, warning that Democrats better not take his vote for granted. Sen. Roland W. Burris, the scandal-plagued freshman Democrat from Illinois, blasted out a news release declaring that he had "emerged as a key player in the healthcare debate." Even Sen. Ben Nelson, the centrist Democrat from Nebraska who has enjoyed months of White House wooing, made a point of reminding a scrum of reporters in the Capitol that he was still uncommitted.
April 25, 2009 |
Senior Democrats have reached broad agreement on a plan to prevent Republicans from blocking President Obama's sweeping healthcare proposals, congressional officials said Friday. The plan, which would use special provisions of the budget process to prevent a Senate filibuster, threatens to sow outrage among Republican lawmakers and could complicate Democrats' efforts to push through the rest of their agenda.