Health Care

Obama: 'I Hope It's Bipartisan'

At a White House event honoring NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson, President Barack Obama responded to a reporter's question about health care by saying he's "absolutely confident that we are going to get a bill, and I hope it's bipartisan." But are Democrats really committed to crossing the aisle anymore? A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he's not above doing an end-run around a stubborn GOP: "Patience is not unlimited and we are determined to get something done this year by any legislative means necessary." That includes the possibility of reconciliation, a controversial legislative procedure that allows a bill to bypass the threat of filibuster with only 50 votes, instead of the usual 60. But do the Dems even have 50 votes? Jake Tapper notes that the Democrats' 60-vote majority includes two senators too ill to vote (Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts) and five who have vocally questioned or opposed the public option—that leaves 53 Democratic votes for a bill that includes the public option, which isn't a lot of breathing room for a bill attracting heavy interest from outside groups and the insurance industry.