March 4th, 2010
By Tim Reid, Times Online
President Obama declared for the first time today that he is prepared to steamroll his troubled health reform legislation through Congress with only Democratic support, a move Republicans denounced as the “nuclear option”.
Signalling that his patience had now snapped after a year-long fight over health reform, Mr Obama laid the ground for Democrats in Congress to muscle the Bill through using a high-risk legislative maneuvre known as reconciliation, which overrides a Republican filibuster.
Although he did not use the word “reconciliation”, Mr Obama made clear that is the uncompromising route he now intends to take with his top domestic priority. White House aides and top Democrats on Capitol Hill have also stated in recent days that, in the face of unanimous Republican opposition, the legislation will now be forced through.
By using reconciliation, Democrats can get the health reform package through the Senate with a simple majority, rather than needing the Bill to pass the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Mr Obama’s party ceded their 60-stong majority in the upper chamber after losing the late Edward Kennedy’s Massachusetts seat in January.