Democrats reject quick fix to health bill
WASHINGTON (AP) – Though reeling from a seismic political loss, House Democrats rejected the quickest fix to their health care dilemma Thursday and signaled that any agreement on President Barack Obama’s signature issue will come slowly, if at all.
Democrats weighed a handful of difficult options as they continued to absorb Republican Scott Brown’s election to the Massachusetts Senate seat long held by Edward M. Kennedy. Several said Obama must forcefully help them find a way to avoid the humiliation of enacting no bill, and they urged him to do so quickly, to put the painful process behind them.
House leaders said they could not pass a Senate-approved bill, standing by itself, because of objections from liberals and moderates alike. Such a move could have settled the matter, because it would not have required further Senate action. Brown’s stunning victory restored the GOP’s power to block bills with Senate filibusters.
Democratic leaders weighed two main options, both problematic. The first would require congressional Democrats to muscle their way past stiff GOP objections despite warning signs from Massachusetts voters and worries about next November’s elections.
The other would pare down the original health care legislation in hopes of gaining some Republican support. But the compromise process is more difficult than many lawmakers suggest.