Obama May Settle For Democrat-Only Support To Pass Health Reform

"President Barack Obama may rely only on Democrats to push health-care legislation through the U.S. Congress if Republican resistance doesn't eventually give way, two of the president's top advisers said," Bloomberg reports.

"Both (Obama's senior political strategist David) Axelrod and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said taking a partisan route to enacting major health-care legislation isn't the president's preferred choice. Yet in separate interviews, each man left that option open. 'We'd like to do it with the votes of members of both parties,' Axelrod said. 'But the worst result would be to not get health-care reform done.'"

"Emanuel, making a theoretical case for a party-line vote, offered a definition of bipartisanship based not on roll-call votes but on whether Democrats have accepted Republican ideas during the process of negotiations. He said Democrats already have passed that test, pointing to Republican amendments that the Democratic-controlled Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has adopted. ... "'That's a test of bipartisanship -- whether you took ideas from both parties,' Emanuel said. 'At the end of the day, the test isn't whether they voted for it,' he said, referring to Republicans. 'The test is whether the final product represented some of their ideas. And I think it will.'" Emanuel also said he thinks reform can get done without using the budget reconciliation process should a filibuster threat arise (Chen, 7/15).

Obama's political organization is also running TV ads boosting reform, The Associated Press reports: "The 30-second ads will begin airing Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and on cable TV nationally. A version will run on local stations in eight states to prod senators to back the health care effort. They will run for two weeks." The group wouldn't reveal how much it spent on the ads (7/15).

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