The word is that Senate Dems have agreed to go ahead with reconciliation to pass health care reform, as explained by Steve Benen —
By agreeing to pursue reconciliation, the Senate leadership almost certainly believes it will have the 51 votes needed to approve the budget fix. This makes sense — even center-right Dems have been coming around on this procedural question in recent weeks, frustrated by Republican obstinacy.
I should emphasize, for any lawmakers or reporters who may be reading, that by agreeing to the majority-rule route, Dems aren’t talking about passing health care reform through reconciliation. Health care reform was already approved by the Senate in December, and it passed 60 to 39 through the regular ol’ legislative process. No tricks, no abuses, nothing unusual at all.
Rather, reconciliation will now be used — if all goes according to plan — to approve a modest budget fix that will improve the final reform bill.
More good news — some Senators are determined to continue to push for the public option, in a separate bill.