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Reconciliation vote possible on healthcare

Aug. 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., says Democrats may resort to using the unpopular "budget reconciliation" method to pass healthcare reform measures.

Though a bipartisan deal on healthcare reform doesn't seem likely, Specter said on "Fox News Sunday" that while he would "vastly prefer" to pass the bill using normal methods, a proposal to consider the measures under budget rules that would require only 51 assenting Senate votes instead of 60 might be necessary.

"I think the vastly preferable way is to go the 60 route," Specter said "And with 60 Democratic senators, I think that can be done. I think the 51 approach is not desirable. As a very last, last, last resort, if you can't get anything else, I would consider it. But I think that is undesirable."

Specter also disagreed with critics who say public support for the reforms is dwindling as Americans "read the bill," saying, "That's not true. There's no bill in the Senate. There's no bill on the House floor. A couple of house committees have considered it."

He urged Republican Party give backers "an opportunity to present a bill before people" before leveling criticisms.

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