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Crunch Time for Health Care Reform

Crunch Time for Health Care Reform
Special Senatorial election in Massachusetts will play an important role.

Tuesday, following an election in Massachusetts, Senate Democrats will find out if they will maintain their 60 vote edge, which is key to overriding a GOP filibuster. The election is being conducted to find a replacement for the late Edward Kennedy, who died in August. President Obama and congressional leaders have been working overtime to strike a compromise on health care reform. But, that effort could hit a brick wall if a Republican is elected in Massachusetts.


Many strategies are being discussed. Some Democrats would like to use a fast-track procedure called reconciliation. That would permit the bill to pass the Senate with 51 votes, but reconciliation would require lawmakers to start over, dismantle the bill and scale it back dramatically.


Over in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has repeatedly said she could not rally the votes to approve a package that many House Democrats think would force people to buy health insurance without ensuring that they could afford it.

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