Democrats push for reconciliation process 'shortcut' to pass healthcare reform, Republicans cry foul

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Senate leaders, as a way to squeeze healthcare reform legislation through Congress, may try to use the budget reconciliation process. This legislative shortcut allows bills to pass through the Senate without fear of filibuster, according to recent news reports.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been leaning on lawmakers to include the reconciliation process in an upcoming budget proposal. Budget director Peter Orszag reportedly has said that it would be premature to take the process off the table. Under the budget reconciliation process, the number of votes needed to pass Senate legislation would be a majority of 51, not the 60-vote super-majority currently required to supersede a filibuster. The proposed action has drawn protests from Republicans.  
 
"You're talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River," Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) told The Washington Post.

Obama's plan to reform healthcare and create universal coverage is expected to cost up to $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to a recent analysis by the Lewin Group. The long-term care community is urging Congress to consider the industry in any healthcare reform legislation.