Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Friday said that both chambers of Congress must pass "comprehensive" healthcare reform bills and not use the piecemeal approach gaining momentum in the House.
The New York Democrat said that the House must reach an agreement with the Senate to pass changes to their bill using the budget reconciliation process that only requires 51 senators to approve measures.
Then, he said, the Congress should combine popular items that do not apply to the reconciliation process into a separate bill, then pass it.
Nadler's approach has yet to be proposed by any other lawmakers.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Friday became one of the first leaders to support a piecemeal approach to passing healthcare reforms, making it unclear if Nadler's proposal can gain traction in the House.
Here is a portion of Nadler's statement:
We must instead negotiate an agreement with the Senate to pass a few key changes to the Senate bill through the reconciliation process so that both Houses can pass a comprehensive bill. We can then take various popular insurance reforms that cannot be passed through the reconciliation process – dealing with such subjects as pre-existing conditions, rescissions and annual and lifetime benefits – put them in a separate bill, and see if the Republicans dare to filibuster them. The alternatives – giving up on comprehensive reform or attempting to only pass small pieces separately – are either unacceptable or impractical.
Nadler concluded saying, "Though the process of crafting and passing health care legislation has been frustrating and disappointing for many of us, we still have a rare opportunity to enact true reform, and we must not give up."
It's not clear how long Nadler's proposal will take to complete. Some Senate Democrats have said they believe it's time to move on from the healthcare debate to other issues.