Sixty. It’s the magic number for getting most things done in the U.S. Senate – and it will be the target for Republicans to get legislation through the House of Representatives, past Democratic objections in the Senate and to the desk of President Barack Obama.
Republicans will have at most 54 seats in the new Senate next January. So they’d need to gain at least six Democrats on anything controversial, to break a legislation-blocking filibuster by the rest of the Democrats.
And they might do it. From an oil pipeline to a medical tax, there are some areas where the Senate could marshal 60 or more votes. The challenge will be building a new coalition on each issue.
If Republicans move to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s medical-device tax, for example, they might lure liberal Democrats such as Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren, who voted for the repeal in a symbolic vote last year.
On the Keystone pipeline, they’d likely lose those Democrats but might look to others, based on past votes.