Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta on Monday predicted that a health care bill will pass one way or the other--with or without Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) the Independent who objects to a health insurance public option or expanding Medicare to cover certain 55-year olds.
Democrats need Lieberman for a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 votes. They easily have a majority. Without Lieberman, Democrats have a harder job getting to 60--- needing to lure a Republican to vote for the bill. An alternative would be to use a bit of legislative slight-of-hand--a process that does not allow filibusters called "reconciliation"--where 51 votes are needed to pass a measure. Or, as Poltiico is reporting Monday afternoon, the White House is encouraging Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just to cut a deal with Lieberman.
Podesta, the president of the Center for American Progress --who advises the Obama administration on health care issues--was a guest Monday morning at a reporters breakfast. I asked him about the prospects of using reconciliation.
"We've taken a look at it. It is definitely possible. It can be done," Podesta said.
"My guess is that musty folders on reconciliation got dusted off this morning,"