Clyburn: 'Magic number on healthcare reform is 50, not 60'; measure not dead

Healthcare reform legislation is "not dead by any means," Democrats' third-ranking leader in the House emphasized Wednesday.

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) struck a confident pose about the prospects for healthcare reform in the Senate as Democrats scramble to put together plans to pass healthcare legislation after their special election loss Tuesday in Massachusetts.

"It's not dead by any means," Clyburn said during an appearance on CNBC.

Clyburn made a direct reference to budget reconciliation, a parliamentary maneuver allowing Democrats to sidestep the filibuster rules in the Senate requiring 60 votes to move forward with a piece of legislation.


"I have always said that the magic number on healthcare reform is 50, not 60," he said. "And I do believe that we will have a healthcare reform bill, and we will have one that the American people can be proud of."

Reconciliation is within the arsenal of options on Democrats' hands as they weigh how to proceed next.

One scenario under consideration would have House Democrats pass the Senate bill as is, paired with a separate bill formed under reconciliation rules carving out changes to the healthcare bill that House and Senate Democrats had previously negotiated.

Two key labor groups, the SEIU and AFL-CIO, moved toward backing such a strategy on Wednesday.