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Congress: Searching for consensus

"Reports of health care reform's demise are greatly exaggerated, Democrats insisted Thursday as they began emergency surgery on the fast-fading legislation," the New York Daily News writes, adding, "After a string of meetings yesterday, angry, stunned House Democrats decided they were willing to break the measure into pieces and use a loophole called budget reconciliation to pass tougher parts in the Senate."  
 
The Times: "Even as Speaker Nancy Pelosi affirmed her commitment to pass far-reaching health care legislation this year, members of Congress and health policy experts began Thursday to deal with the reality that a smaller bill would have a better chance. Passage of a comprehensive bill looked impossible after the Democrats' loss of a Senate seat in Massachusetts. As an alternative, lawmakers in both parties said, some pieces of the bills already passed by the House and the Senate could be pulled out and packaged together in a measure that would command broad support." 

Max "Speedy" Baucus proclaims, "We're going to pass health care reform. There are lots of options, and we're just talking about the pros and cons."

"Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) in the next few weeks intends to introduce legislation that would take away the minority's power to filibuster legislation," The Hill writes. "Harkin has wanted to change the filibuster for years, but his move would come in the wake of Republican Scott Brown's dramatic victory in Massachusetts… Democratic leadership aides say Harkin's bill is unlikely to succeed and that the idea hasn't been seriously considered in light of Brown's victory." 
 
Populist outrage: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he wants more information from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on how to pressure banks into helping the economy," The Hill writes. "Bernanke's current term is up on Jan. 31, and Reid has yet to schedule a vote or invoke cloture on a nomination that has drawn strong criticism from some Republicans and Democrats."