A healthcare bill passed with a simple majority in the Senate is completely legitimate, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) insisted Wednesday.
Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, dismissed the notion that healthcare reform must be bipartisan in nature.
"What's happened is that we've seen a de-facto amendment to the American Constitution so that you need 60 votes, in general, to get anything through the Senate," he said during an interview on CNBC. "I'm surprised at people who act as if something that would pass with 52, 53, or 54 votes in the Senate somehow lacks legitimacy."
Democrats have considered using budget reconciliation to pass healthcare legislation with a simple majority in the Senate, instead of the simple 60 votes usually needed to break a filibuster.
Frank said he expected Democrats, with a smattering of Republican supporters, would be able to pass a health bill.
"I believe that if we focus on getting Democratic majorities, which are the majorities that were elected last November, along with Republicans then coming along, that we'll be able to get a good bill," he argued.
"Bipartisanship is not an end in itself, it's a means," Frank added.
The veteran lawmaker maintained that a so-called "soda tax" on soft drinks was unlikely, and said he's not inclined to support a bill that doesn't have a public option.
Looking ahead to the president's speech tonight, Frank said that he's most hopeful that there aren't too many standing ovations.
"I get kind of tired standing up and down like a jack in the box, and frankly, I think it gets kind of silly," he said.
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