As the battle over healthcare reform heats up, two influential congressmen appeared on a Sunday talk show to call for cooperation and compromise.
Despite assurances from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Democrats in her chamber have enough votes to pass the bill, Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the budget committee, said Republican support will be needed.
What is more, he suggested a bipartisan legislation would also be desirable, saying on ABC’s This Week, "We’re probably going to get a better product if we go through the tough business of debate, consideration and analysis of what we’re proposing."
Appearing on the show alongside Conrad was South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, who, although he clashed with his Democratic counterpart on many issues, sounded a similar note when he said that "We could have a plan in a few weeks … if the goal is not a government takeover."
In DeMint’s view, removing the proposal of a public insurance option will facilitate a compromise across the aisle and result in a reform that has a broad political support.
President Obama and the Democrats want to introduce the bill before congressional summer recess begins in August.
However, commentators have suggested that even if the Democrats – who have 60 votes in the Senate – manage to push the reform through on their own, such a partisan legislation might spell political trouble for the party as well as President Obama in the years to come.