After numerous delays, three Democrats and three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee are facing a Sept. 15 deadline to wrap up secretive talks and come up with a plan. But Sen. Chuck Schumer says Democrats have “contingencies” in place if Republicans are not cooperating.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the third-ranking Senate Democrat, raised the prospect of the leadership crafting a bill to Democratic specifications and using a rare legislative procedure to expedite legislation fulfilling President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.
“We will have contingencies in place. These plans will likely be considered as a last resort, but they are on the table,” Schumer told reporters on a conference call. He declined to elaborate.
Schumer said Democratic leaders continue to look at invoking a procedural maneuver that would allow them to pass the health bill with 51 instead of 60 votes. That route is viewed as a last resort since it limits what legislative measures would be allowed and any broad policy initiatives would probably have to be limited.
“Seriously. How can any Democrat who doesn’t support what the bipartisan group of Finance members is working on complain about there not being a bipartisan approach,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart. “Has Senator Schumer or anyone in the Democrat leadership offered a bipartisan bill?”