Sen. Landrieu: It's time to move on from healthcare debate

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said Thursday that she believes its time to move on from the healthcare debate.

The centrist senator said that the best way to move forward is for the House to pass the Senate bill, an option House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to rule out earlier on Thursday. 

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"I would like to finish this healthcare debate and move on to energy jobs and help for small business," she told reporters. "The longer the healthcare debate goes on, I think it is more difficult for us to do the important work, not that it's not important."

Landrieu's remarks underscored worries amongst Democrats on Capitol Hill that the longer the healthcare debate drags out, the harder it will be for the Senate to take up other pieces of legislation passed by the House such as cap-and-trade energy legislation and financial regulatory reform.

The election Tuesday of Scott Brown (R-Mass.) as the 41st GOP senator has also worried Democrats because it stripped them of their filibuster proof majority.

Landrieu said the Senate bill is the best way forward because she believes it does more to contain healthcare costs and it costs less than the House bill.

"I think that's a clear message from the elections of this weekend," she said of Brown's win, which occurred Tuesday.

Either way, she said, lawmakers could always revisit the passed legislation and make improvements at a later date.

"You know what, there's next year, and we can come back next year or the following year to try to help make the subsidies more generous for people," she said, citing the larger health insurance subsidies contained in the House bill.

Asked what she thinks can be done to pass the House bill now that Pelosi has indicated it does not have the votes, Landrieu said "My message would be to keep working on it."

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was also asked how he thinks the healthcare bill will get finished.

"With creativity and a sense of what's right for the country," he told reporters.