“If we can’t work this out to do something within the committee structure, then we’ll be forced to do reconciliation,” said Reid, who said the tactic would be used as a “last resort.”The threat may not be idle. The Hill is reporting that both Republicans and Democrats have started consulting the Senate parliamentarian to try to determine what parts of reform could pass using reconciliation.
Reconciliation is not the only option that Senate Democrats have to pass health care reform without Republican support. As early as tomorrow, Massachusetts's Governor David Patrick could appoint a new interim Democratic senator. The appointment would once again give the Senate Democratic Caucus 60 members. Sam Stein at the Huffington Post is reporting that some Senate Democratic leaders are renewing a push to convince the entire caucus to at least vote to shutdown a Republican Filibuster.
All 60 members of the caucus would need to vote to stop the filibuster, but passing the bill into law would only require a simple majority vote (50 senators plus a tiebreaker vote by VP Biden). Whether every Democratic senator is willing to allow a bill to come up for a vote even if they don't support the legislation remains an open question.