Bipartisanship out for health bill, "nuclear option" likely

nuclear option for health bill forced by bipartisanship
nuclear option for health bill forced by bipartisanship

After a very public display of partisanship at President Barack Obama's health care summit on Thursday, the public clearly saw that no real attempt at bipartisanship is possible on the health bill. If the Democrats want to pass health care legislation this year they most likely will need to use what's commonly called the "nuclear option," but officially called, in Senate terms, "reconciliation" to solve differences between bills passed by the Senate and House. Generally these bills cannot include provisions that are "extraneous" to taxing and spending.

The reconciliation process allows the Senate to vote on a simple majority and prevents the use of a filibuster. Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority after Sen. Scott Brown won the Massachusetts election in January. Now the Republicans have 41 votes and can use the filibuster process to stop any vote on health care.