WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the sometimes contentious debate over how to overhaul America's health care system continues, Democrats in the House of Representatives appear to be sending out mixed messages over their commitment to the so-called public option. Just one day after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi strongly endorsed a government-run plan to cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans, the number two Democrat in the House seemed a lot less definitive.
House Democratic Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland told reporters Friday on a conference call, "As I've said in the past, I'm for a public option but I'm also for passing a bill...but you know we'll have to see because there are many other aspects of the bill as well."
That's a lot less definitive than what Speaker Pelosi told reporters in San Francisco Thursday: "There's no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option."
After Hoyer's conference call, an aide told CNN the Majority Leader is in full agreement with the Speaker over the need for a public option, and that it will be hard to pass the House without one, but that he was acknowledging the reality that it will be hard to pass that in the Senate and therefore the Congress as a whole.