With the election of Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, shifting the Democrats’ advantage in the U.S. Senate to 59-41, the health care deliberations in Congress are in a state of flux. Plenty of people think that’s just fine. According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll, 70 percent of Americans think the Democrats’ loss of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate is “good for the country.”
One Democrat who isn't crying over spilt milk is U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin. “The best way to get meaningful health insurance reform now is what was the best way to get it last year,” he says, “by asking Senate reformers to muster only a majority vote instead of a super-majority. Demanding a 60-vote majority only produces unseemly backroom deals in an effort to overcome the tyranny of the minority.”
Doggett and his fellow Democratic members of the Texas delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives have a few options to consider with regard to how to move forward. You can hear Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, lay them out in the audio link to your right.
The fastest option available is to pass the Senate bill as it currently exists. Or they could adopt a different approach, which might mean reconciling the Senate bill with the House bill, breaking the reforms up into smaller bills, or starting over completely. Another option, one that's less popular in Democratic circles, is to give up on the effort entirely.
We asked the House Democrats from Texas what should happen next. While some are still mulling and contemplating, others have decided how they think health care should proceed — or, at least, how it definitely shouldn’t. Here’s what they told us.