House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing a $300 billion "fix" to the Senate health care bill, saying that her chamber could approve the Senate's package if those changes are made first.
Senior Democratic aides told Fox News that Pelosi has offered up the new package of changes to Senate Democratic leaders, with the hope that they will be able to pass it using a controversial procedural maneuver known as "reconciliation." The maneuver would allow Democrats to pass the measure with just 51 votes, without having to first overcome the normal 60-vote threshold.
Some Democrats are keen on using that process, since the election last week of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts broke the Democrats' 60-vote supermajority. However, some Democratic moderates -- notably Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh -- have balked at using the controversial tactic to ram through health care reform measures.
Pelosi announced last week that she did not have the votes in the House to pass the Senate health care reform bill as is. But Pelosi is now floating the possibility that if the Senate, and House, approve the package of adjustments first, the House can then take up the original Senate bill.
The plan suggests the House speaker is taking up President Obama's call to push health care reform through to the finish despite opposition and political concerns. Any move to drive through a "fix" to the Senate bill using reconciliation is sure to draw fierce protest from Republicans, who want the president and Congress to take a fresh approach to the health care bill. Senate Democratic moderates also say they're unsure about the future of health care reform.
Pelosi offered few details about the reconciliation scenario on Thursday, but affirmed her commitment to passing some version of health care reform. She said lawmakers "must take whatever time it takes to do it."
She said the adjustments to the Senate bill would not be "minor tweaks," but said ultimately Congress will pass a bill.
A Pelosi aide later said that the total cost of the package of changes could go down.
Obama pledged to press ahead with health care reform in his State of the Union address Wednesday night. He said he would not "walk away" from the issue and urged Congress to stand with him.
"Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close," Obama said.
The president urged Congress to take "another look" at the plan on the table, but at the same time offered to hear out new ideas from both parties.
Fox News' Trish Turner contributed to this report.