Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) wouldn’t say whether he would be able to corral all 55 Senate Republicans to support personal Social Security retirement accounts. “There haven’t been whip checks or vote counts as to how much support is there,” Frist said at last Tuesday’s briefing.
Liberal Republican Senators Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine) have, however, voiced their concerns publicly, while some moderates have privately questioned the viability of the President’s plan. If Republicans are to make any headway, they would need a united caucus and have to win over some moderate Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who has turned out to be stunningly partisan, has said his party is already united in opposition to personal accounts. Reid initially claimed all 44 Democrats were with him, but later backtracked and said he hadn’t spoken to every Democrat.