Senate Centrists Hold House Dems Hostage
Stick up to Reid, Dems urge Pelosi
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Feb 17, 2009 3:24 PM CST
Sen. Olympia Snowe, second from left, speaks, Feb. 11, 2009, with, from left, Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Max Baucus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Sen. Arlen Specter.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The Senate requires 60 votes to avoid filibuster, so the 58-strong Democrats are at the mercy of centrist Republicans Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. Politico reports that House Dems, who have no trouble passing bills on their own, are unhappy that their legislation has to run this gauntlet. Says one, “You have Specter, Snowe, and Collins dictating terms to 250" of us.

On the stimulus, the Senate majority’s need to accommodate pivotal votes meant stripping out measures enjoying broad support in the House. Some Democrats want to force the GOP to mount filibusters if it wants to block a bill. But the situation is delicate. Says Nancy Pelosi: “In order to get their votes, they had to make certain changes in the legislation.”