After the recent death of Senator Edward Kennedy, the former 47 year Massachusetts Senate seat holder, elections took place. It took Massachusetts voters one day to end the serious chances of congressional Democrats and the Obama administration passing sweeping health care reform without support from Republicans. The recent victory of Republican Scott Brown to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate has increased the number of Republican Senators to 41, allowing them to mount a filibuster of the Democrats health reform bill.
President Barack Obama acknowledged the new political reality during a television interview,”I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements in the package that people agree on”
Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s press secretary said the best course of action would be to put the reform on hold, at least temporarily.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated, “We’re not going to rush into anything. We will wait until the new senator arrives.”
It is clear that after the election of Senator Brown the attitude toward passage of the bill has changed. It is much more likely the new course of action will be for top congressional Democrats and Republicans to work together on a vastly slimmed-down reform bill.
Paul Dennett, Senior-VP, Health Care Reform with the American Benefits Council in Washington said “slimmed-down bills are a real possibility.”
With big changes in the Senate in the past couple weeks, it appears that health reform is subject to big changes as well.