Erica Werner
Canadian Press
January 20, 2010

scott brown

It’s gut-check time for President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on their health care overhaul.

A stinging loss Tuesday in Massachusetts cost Obama the 60-vote Senate supermajority he was counting on to overcome Republican procedural obstacles and pass the far-reaching legislation. The outcome splintered the rank and file on how to salvage the bill, energized congressional Republicans and left Obama and the Democrats with fallback options that range from bad to worse.

Senate Democrats were scheduled to meet at midday Wednesday, and a sign of their intentions could emerge then. Obama will have to exert a mighty influence to keep jittery moderates from giving up on the effort.

Democrats don’t appear to have enough time to resolve differences between the two bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate – and get cost and coverage estimates back from the Congressional Budget Office – before Brown is sworn in.

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