Weiner: Health reform likely dead if GOP wins in Mass.

Health reform legislation may be dead if the Republican wins in today's Massachusetts special election, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) asserted Tuesday.

Weiner, one of the top, liberal champions of healthcare reform in the House, said healthcare reform would likely fail if the House were asked to rubber-stamp the Senate's bill.

“I think you can make a pretty good argument that healthcare might be dead," Weiner said during an appearance on MSNBC when asked about what effect a loss for Democrats in Massachusetts would have on healthcare.

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If Republican Scott Brown manages to upset state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D), it would give the GOP enough votes in the Senate to sustain a filibuster against a number of Democratic priorities, including healthcare.

One of the contingency plans that Democratic leaders are evaluating includes forcing the House to pass the Senate's healthcare bill. That way, the Senate would not have to take up the bill again, and not have to get a 60-vote majority again to move ahead with legislation.

But such a move would essentially nullify many agreements House and Senate Democrats, along with outside groups, have reached to move toward its final health bill. House Democrats have expressed frustration toward a good deal of the Senate's provision, threatening to vote against that bill, and imperiling the tenuous majority in the House in favor of health reform.

"I don't see us doing that," Weiner said of whether the House would pass the Senate bill without amendment, adding it would be "very hard" to get the votes on board for such a thing.

The New York liberal's remarks contrast markedly with what he'd said only a day ago, though, when he said Democrats would still try to push through their bill if they lost in Massachusetts.

"We're going to have to finish this bill and then stall the swearing-in as long as possible," Weiner told the Wall Street Journal. "That's our strategy, a hurry-up-and-stall strategy."

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