When Senators like Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown say Democrats need to finalize health care reform through the budget reconciliation process because of Republican obstructionism, that doesn't mean much.
When Senators Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, and Ben Nelson say their more liberal colleagues may be right, that means a lot.
Via Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown, here's Bayh:
“Obviously, if the minority is just frustrating the process, that argues for taking steps to get the public’s business done. ... Republicans would probably shut the place down, but you could argue they are doing that anyway.
I’m staying open to see how these negotiations go forward. I’ve not generally been a big supporter, but the Republican Party, the leadership, has really been very, very, very disingenuous in this process.
And here's Nelson:
I’d like to see as many votes as possible. But at the end of the day, with the obstructionism going on at the level that it is, I’m more interested in what’s in the package than I am in the process of how many votes it takes to get it through.
Comments like these do more than increase, vastly, the odds that reconciliation amendments could pass the Senate. They also embolden those House Democrats who fear the bill won't play well in conservative districts or don't trust the Senate to do its part.