Senate Dems look to GOP moderates for help

Dec. 1, 2008 at 8:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Democrats say they likely will have a working filibuster-proof majority on key issues that could give early wins for President-elect Barack Obama.

Although the number of Democrats remains unknown -- two Senate races are undecided -- vote-counters indicate support from Republican moderates will free up bills such as healthcare reform or immigration reform halted by the current Congress by GOP maneuvering, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Democrats picked up seven Republican seats in last month's election to add to their majority when the next Congress convenes in January. In the current Congress, Democrats rely on two independents to reach a 51-vote majority.

"The truth is ... we will be fine on most major issues. We will almost always have some moderate Republican support," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Democrats are relying on moderate Republicans such as Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who are left of center on issues such as Medicare spending and the Iraq war, the Post said.

Other possible swing votes are Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., whose socially liberal views make him a prospective Democratic recruit on spending matters and Obama's judicial nominations, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has supported some Democratic initiatives, such as embryonic stem cell research funding, that likely will get an early airing during the next session.

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