A top Senate Democrat on Friday suggested lawmakers "take a breather for a month, six weeks" from healthcare reform.

Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) told reporters the much-needed break would allow lawmakers to focus on other issues before the chamber, the AP first reported.

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Democratic lawmakers have struggled since the loss of their supermajority to forge ahead with healthcare negotiations, thought to be in the final stretch until the election of Scott Brown (Mass.) as the chamber's 41st Republican.

Democratic leaders in the House have stressed throughout this week that they lack the votes required to pass the Senate's legislation and send that proposal to the president's desk. That thwarts Senate Democrats' original plan of passing a second bill that corrects concerns with the current legislation through the avenue of reconciliation.


Dodd on Friday suggested Democrats pause their efforts, in part to consider other measures pending action on the Senate floor. The chamber has yet to take up its version of a financial regulatory reform bill, which Dodd is chiefly drafting, as well as a cap-and-trade bill, a higher education financing bill that has already cleared the House and a proposal to create a debt-reduction commission.