Republicans said after the healthcare summit that Obama and the Democrats appear ready to go it alone on healthcare. That means resorting to a process called reconciliation, which allows measures to pass by a simple majority.
Democrats say Republicans use petty tactics to block President Obama's agenda. But Senate Democrats had a hard time passing legislation even when they had a filibuster-proof majority.
Full text of President Obama's State of the Union address
A vote to raise the national debt ceiling is always tough, because it casts the majority party as a reckless spender. But Congress must confront the issue, probably Jan. 20, upon lawmakers' return from recess. If the ceiling is not raised, the government will likely run out of funds in February.
President Obama has made a priority of tackling the US unemployment rate – now about 10 percent. But a new jobs program would add more to the soaring federal deficit.
Thirteen Senate Democrats joined Republicans in rejecting a $245 billion 'doc fix’ to prevent cuts in payments to Medicare doctors. Majority leader Harry Reid said the Senate will address the issue again after health reform.
The CBO says the Senate Finance bill will create a $81 billion surplus over 10 years. But critics say its fees, taxes, and mandates will hit Americans’ pocketbooks hard.