Now Senator Grassley (R-IA) and Rep Mike Enzi (R-WY) are calling for a super-majority of 80 Senators to pass any health care reform bill, in other words, they do not want any reform at all. Grassley also thinks that a few screamers in several town hall meetings somehow should dictate the debate. That's incredible to hear, but WTF, that's his gig.
The larger question is why the Senate Democrats even consider the opinion of the marginalized leadership of the shrinking GOP. This latest laughable request should be met with, well.... laughter. This is, after all, the same party that had Sarah "death panels" Palin slated to be #2 on the list to lead the free world.
When the Medicare Part D drug benefit passed in 2003, with all the benefits going to the pharmaceutical industry, it passed with 54 votes. The same goes for the Bush tax cuts in 2001 which passed with 58 votes. Each of these votes had a similar monetary impact on the budget as the proposed House bill on health care reform.
The President and the Congressional Democrats need to do what is best on health care and ignore the noise from the Republicans. The GOP is clearly are not voting for any bill anyway, anyhow. This is why they were voted out of office in 2006 and 2008.
Note that the total votes cast for Republican Senators-- representing a lot of tiny square states-- is 40 million and those who voted for Democrats is 82 million. Even negating the 4 Democrats who would likely support a filibuster, the total is still 79 million. The Democrats in the Senate already have a "super-majority" when taking into account ballots cast.
Maybe the message here is that neither side has enough votes to pass the currently considered health care reform bill. It goes too far for conservative s and not far enough for liberals. The far left will be pissed with anything short of a public option clause-- arguing that significant conciliation has been inserted into existing legislation-- and the right will not vote for anything, with both sides digging in, leaving only a 40% plurality who would favor a watered down "insurance reform". If the two extremes both oppose this moderate tact, the bill fails: So we may have a situation where the votes are split 40-20-40 and nothing will pass.
Who wins? The private insurance industry who really add no value to the health care product but benefit greatly from the continuation of the existent system. Who loses? Everyone else.
Or, Reid, Pelosi and Obama can recognize that the only chance is to join with the progressive left wing and ignore the GOP altogether. Take the 51 votes and pass something that works.