The healthcare reform debate is heating up again as that bipartisan summit meeting of President Obama's nears. And it looks as if the president is using that old "iron fist in a velvet glove" strategy. The velvet glove, of course, would be the calls for bipartisan cooperation, which now extends to the president actually putting forth a comprehensive reform plan designed to help the two parties come to some sort of agreement.
The iron fist? A new resolve to push healthcare legislation through Congress without the famous 60-vote supermajority in the Senate, the number of votes required to get a bill approved without risking filibuster. All along Democrats have thrown around the idea of attaching reform to a budget bill, which can advance on a simple majority. But they never took that approach, partly because they didn't want to be accused of legislative trickery.
That iron fist would only work, however, if enough Democrats are behind this new bill. And the New York Times reports that the Dems in Congress haven't yet seen the president's proposals. So we'll have to wait and see as things develop.
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