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Baby and Bathwater

The obstinate divide over healthcare reform is spilling into other areas of domestic policy such as immigration reform and financial regulation where Democrats are increasingly going it alone. "Democrats have found very few Republicans to work with since taking back control of Congress in 2007. But GOP senators who have been willing to work with Democrats openly on big bills say that a bid to move healthcare with only Democratic votes will end bipartisan prospects for other legislation. After a meeting with President Obama on Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said that healthcare could sink prospects for comprehensive immigration reform. 'I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if health care reconciliation goes forward,' he said in a statement. Reconciliation is a procedure that allows legislation to pass with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes now typical for major bills in the Senate. With the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R) of Massachusetts, the Democratic caucus has 59 members – one short of the count needed to end a Republican filibuster. 'For more than a year, healthcare has sucked most of the energy out of the room. Using reconciliation to push healthcare through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration,' Senator Graham added. Republicans who have backed comprehensive immigration reform in the past, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, are not actively working with Democrats on this bill."
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