Washington Democrats retreated Tuesday from a quick push to pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, lacking a workable strategy to salvage the sweeping legislation that has consumed Congress for more than a year.
“There is no rush,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after a meeting of Senate Democrats. His comments came as two centrists said they would oppose the plan Democratic leaders were considering to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills and put comprehensive legislation on Obama’s desk.
A week after the loss of a Massachusetts Senate seat — their 60th vote — cost Democrats undisputed control of the congressional agenda, leaders are still casting about for a way forward. Given the congressional schedule, it could be weeks — the end of February at the earliest — before they act.
“I think effectively we’re going to set health care reform aside,” said independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. “I don’t think they’re ready to move now because there’s no clear path forward.”