Grassley: No shot at stopping health bill without centrist Dems

Senate Republicans have no chance of defeating healthcare reform legislation without the support of a number of centrist Democrats, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Wednesday.

Grassley, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, claimed that Republican opponents of the bill needed to turn centrist Democrats' fears about the legislation into solid "no" votes on cloture in order to stop the bill if and when it reaches the Senate floor.

"If these folks aren't willing to stand and say that they're not going to vote for cloture until such and such changes are made, then I don't think it's going to have much of an impact," Grassley said in a news conference with Iowa reporters.

Grassley named Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Ben Nelson (Fla.) Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jim Webb (Va.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) as potential opponents of healthcare reform legislation on the other side of the aisle.

"There's -- there's just some nervousness, I guess I would call it -- not any more so than in the Republican Party -- about some of the things that might be in the bill," Grassley said.

The Republican senator said that even more fears may exist amongst centrist Democrats about House provisions that might be included in a final bill drafted by the combined House and Senate conference committee.

Grassley predicted that the Senate Finance Committee would easily pass their version of healthcare reform if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claims, in their report expected today, it does not add to the federal deficit.

"If we get a score today -- early enough today, we'd have the bill done today," he said.