Health overhaul may ride on tactic
With bipartisan efforts to pass a healthcare bill sputtering, Democrats are increasingly looking at a politically risky, last-ditch option designed to ram their proposals through over the objections of the other party. Typically, the majority party in the Senate needs 60 votes to end debate and block a minority filibuster. But in the current debate, Democrats have only 59 members because of the death last week of Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a handful of moderate Democrats might not support healthcare legislation without at least some Republicans on board. So Democratic leaders are discussing the possibility of passing a Senate bill with a simple majority, or 51 votes, under the "reconciliation rule."
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