White House gets ready to go it alone on healthcare

The administration appears to have decided it's not worth further pursuit of Republican votes

Published August 19, 2009 2:20PM (EDT)

It took a little while, but the White House has apparently read all the available tea leaves and decided that it's not worth going after Republican votes on healthcare.

"Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks," the New York Times' Carl Hulse and Jeff Zeleny report in a story that's been confirmed by Politico's Mike Allen as well.

Hulse and Zeleny quote White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as saying, "The Republican leadership has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day."

Still, this doesn't mean the end of negotiations over healthcare legislation, and it doesn't mean that passing a bill will be easy. Without any Republican votes, Democrats will have to hold all their members in the Senate in order to defeat a filibuster. That means concessions to some senators that the more liberal Democrats in the House may not be happy to swallow.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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