Schumer: Dems 'making preparations' to go it alone on healthcare

Senate Democrats are actively making preparations to move forward on healthcare legislation without Republicans, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday.

While bipartisan negotiations amongst the Senate Finance Committee's "group of six" senators on a reform deal, Schumer said during an appearance on MSNBC that Senate leaders are getting ready to move forward with a bill if deadlines for the compromise bill pass without a product.

"We will all come together. Both the president and leader Reid have said we will make every effort to come up with a bipartisan bill," Schumer said. "But if not, we're making preparations on how to get this done without them."

Reid and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have set a September 15th deadline by which the group of six will have had to produce a bill. But some issues, like the inclusion of a public (or "government-run") option, as well as the size and financing of the bill, are still high points of disagreement between Democrats and Republicans.

If Democrats have to move forward to "go it alone" on healthcare, Schumer predicted that House and Senate leaders would be able to bring enough centrists in both houses on board with the bills to pass them without Republican support.

"We will be able to get, just as the Blue Dogs did in the House, the moderates in the Senate, and liberals to agree on a level playing field," Schumer said.