The prospects for Senate Democrats to use the so-called "nuclear option" to bypass a filibuster on healthcare reform legislation are doubtful, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said late Thursday.

Kyl, the second-ranking Senate Republican who is in charge of counting votes, asserted that Democrats have too many dissenters within their own ranks to pass healthcare reform legislation with only a simple majority.

"I don't know whether they will or not," Kyl said on Fox News when asked if Democrats would use budget reconciliation rules (the "nuclear option") to pass healthcare, meaning only a simple majority of the Senate would be needed, instead of the normal 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.

"Perhaps out of frustration they will, but I kind of doubt it because the reason that they're having trouble even among the Democratic majority -- and remember, in the Senate they have 60, Republicans only have 40," Kyl added.

Kyl said that as far as the bill from the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee goes -- which includes the public (or "government-run") healthcare option -- no Republicans and as many as a dozen Democrats might not support that proposal.

"Frankly, there are 10, 12 at least Democrats who I don't think would support it," Kyl said.

"Clearly, they have a problem within the Democratic ranks," the whip said of Senate Democrats. "They are not together on how far they want to go with this."