January 19th, 2010
10:55 PM ET
10 years ago

House Dems largely reject idea of passing Senate health care bill

New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner predicted Tuesday night the Senate bill wouldn't have the votes to pass the House.

New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner predicted Tuesday night the Senate bill wouldn't have the votes to pass the House.

Washington (CNN) - In the face of a major political upset Tuesday night and with Republican Scott Brown poised to fill Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat – ending the Senate Democrats losing their filibuster proof majority – House Democrats across the political spectrum largely rejected the idea of passing the Senate health care bill.

Liberal New York Democrat Anthony Weiner predicted the Senate bill wouldn't have the votes to pass the House.

Weiner ridiculed House Democratic leaders for holding a meeting to brief House Democrats on negotiations with the White House on a health care bill, telling reporters: "They're talking as if, 'what our deal is, what our negotiators are at the White House.' Yeah, and then the last line is, 'Pigs fly out of my ass' ... It's just, we've got to recognize we are in an entirely different scenario."

Several rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers on the right and the left suggested it may be best now to scrap their big overhaul bill and pass a smaller measure with provisions they can all agree on, such barring discrimination by insurers for those Americans who have pre-existing conditions and closing the donut hole to bring down prescription drug costs. But it's unclear if that option, like other contingency plans Democrats are considering, is doable now.

Weiner argued the Massachusetts results demonstrated that Democrats have to change their strategy on health care.

"Large numbers of independent voters saying they're upset about health care, that's not just their fault, that's our fault too," he said. "And we have to think about what we're doing wrong here, and to have a conversation as if nothing happened, whether you're in Massachusetts or not , is being tone deaf."

Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, who led the charge for language to restrict abortion coverage in the House bill, flatly rejected the Senate's version of health care reform. "The Senate bill is a non starter for most members," he said.

Conservative Indiana Democrat Brad Ellsworth, like Weiner, predicted the Senate bill couldn't pass. He told reporters he opposed it mainly because he objected to the inclusion of a special deal for Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson to cover all of that state's costs for expanding Medicaid coverage.

Some Democrats suggested the prospect of no health care bill passing was more likely that rushing to pass the Senate's bill. "If it comes down to that Senate bill or nothing I think we're going to end up with nothing. I don't hear a lot of support on our side for that bill," Massachusetts Democrat Stephen Lynch said.

Lynch shot down the suggestion that Democrats could first pass the Senate bill, then pass a second bill that would add some of the changes Congressional leaders have negotiated with the White House. "I don't think that's going to happen," he said. "We keep sending bills to the Senate and they just never come back, so I guess I've lost my faith in anything happening quickly that requires Senate action."

Several other Democrats echoed Lynch's concerns, telling CNN even if there was firm commitment to pass a second bill with changes negotiated between House and Senate leaders and the White House, they wouldn't vote yes.

But some House Democrats, notably Rhode Island's Patrick Kennedy, did leave the door open to considering the Senate-passed bill.

"I think we could pass the Senate bill and come back later and fix the parts that are most egregious," Kennedy said. "Health care needs to go forward. If it's a message on anything it's that we got the message messed up, not that we got the package messed up."

Baron Hill, a Blue Dog from Indiana, said the idea of passing the Senate bill is "the talk of the town."

Hill said he still needs to look at details of Senate bill, but is open to taking it up, saying, "If that's the only option in town then maybe that's what we ought to do."

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • House Democrats
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. cmoore

    They will lose in November if they do, even though Obama does not care. A bipartisan bill without backroom deals and bribes is their only shot at re-election. Obama should learn from Clinton who adjusted to the people's moderate voice and became successful Democrat.

    January 19, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  2. josiah

    way to go Obama – real great – someone or many should be fired for their lack of creativity and foresight in predicting this – if this is how Boma runs his ship then they deserve to lose the majority – I'm a Democrat and I'm sick of the LAME, weak, and pathetic way Democrats are conducting themselves and the people's business – way too busy playing crap politics and blustering form an incoherent mob of idiots – do you realize what your slack attitudes and vision have just allowed to happen – really OBAMA – where is the CHANGE – you ain't done nothin!

    January 19, 2010 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. Anthony

    Clearly the democrats have failed by not getting the bill done last year. Bush pushed through his gigantic tax cuts that added trillions to the national debt with 51 votes. CHENEY'S VOTE.. The dems just dont have any balls. Fighting among themselves in the senate and house has left them with nothing. GOOD JOB. They have failed to deliver on what they promised, A FULL YEAR WASTED!!!!! They deserve to lose the majority for not having the balls to just pass it with 51 votes. Majority rules in this country. They let a few loud voices and republican scare tactics control the debate.

    January 19, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  4. Can You Hear Me Now?

    IF the next move on the part of the Obama administration, Pelosi and Reid is to give lip service to hearing the message, and merely faking like they're moving from far left policies to something in the middle, we will recognize that and still vote them all out at the next opportunity. They have treated us as if we are stupid. They think they can get away with anything and merely spin what's happening as something other than it really is (and it's not ALL George Bush's fault!). But, hello! We are not stupid. And if they didn't get the message in Massachussetts today, then they obviously are. Spin that Mr. Olberman.

    January 19, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  5. Jack Gibson

    As someone who has been rejected for health insurance based on preexisting condition, I favor passage of realistic legislation that makes it possible for individuals who must participate in the open market to purchase insurance. That includes small business owners, people no longer eligible for COBRA, young people not covered by insurance at work, and yes people who have health problems that will bankrupt them if they choose to treat their illness.
    I have seen a man in his 50s choose to let his cancer run its course in order to leave his wife with a home. Is that what the Republican minority wants as our health care policy?

    January 19, 2010 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    The tide has absolutely turned against the Democratic leadership. With a supermajority in The Senate they felt 10 feet tall and bulletproof and abused that privilege for selfish political gain. They locked Republicans and the 150 million Americans they represented out of the legislative process in our Federal Government. They blew through trillions of dollars of our tax dollars and still the economy soured and unemployment rose. American taxpayers eventually demand performance and results.

    January 19, 2010 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  7. Lane

    I am so glad these people finally got the message. It's amazing what it has taken for Democrats to finally, FINALLY hear the people screaming at them. This whole healthcare process has been under the table anyway. No one on either side appreciates those tactics.

    January 19, 2010 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  8. Kay "MamaKay" Bridger-Riley

    This is so crazy. The reason we are all mad is that you haven't done what you said you would... pass universal health care... not a watered down version, but one that will provide us all with reasonable and available health care!!! Nobody would be mad about the bail-outs if we the people were getting treated equally! That was the change we were looking for, Mr. President.

    January 19, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  9. Independent

    Outstanding!!! Now scrap the expensive partisan monstrosity and get together with the republicans and pass those things that both parties agree upon.

    January 19, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  10. Kay

    The Dems just failed to tell Americans the good sides of the health bill as the Repubs were incessantly broadcasting the bad parts. In the end, it took a Corky Martha to sink it all. 58 Dems is a plenty number to pass a good bill for the people on health care if they work seriously. (I am not counting Lieberman as a Dem. Cant trust him) As Stewart said, George Bush did not have that many Repub Senators to do the damage he did to the economy, which we have already forgotten. The Insurance companies and the rich are having a ball now. And the poor voter who voted for Brown? Time will tell

    January 19, 2010 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |

    Thank You. The NY Congressman is a wise man. The Senate bill stinks.

    Freezing winter and a deep recession, combined with photos of the President flolicking on the beaches of Hawaii, in a $4000 per night compound has finally caught up with Barack Obama.

    Get Real. Things are tough, and a Jet Setting president is not what people want to see.

    January 19, 2010 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  12. TonyS

    ...and so it begins...or should I say, ENDS.

    January 19, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. Kacz

    Both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are toxic to the Democratic Party and should step down from their respective posts. Harry Reid should also bow out of his race in Nevada and retire altogether from the Senate. These two people have done more harm and have created more animosity toward Congress in general than any other politicians in modern times. The success of our country depends on their stepping down and passing the torch to others who have a better understanding of the American people.

    January 19, 2010 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. cbngr

    I am sure the Republicans are hoping that the Dems pass the Senate bill. If the Dems could loose Ted Kennedy's seat over this. (You know Ted Kennedy who so bravely pushed this agenda even while suffering greatly his own health battle. I wonder if Senator Kennedy would have been re-elected.)
    The current incumbents need to search their souls. What elements are important enough to not get re-elected for pushing through. I think Rep. Stupak is on target and reflects a majority of opinion.
    Personally, I think we should fund health care, not health insurance.

    January 19, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. RobertJ

    Rhode Island's Patrick Kennedy is still oblivious to the real problem when he says, "it's that we got the message messed up, not that we got the package messed up." The convoluted "package" and its stench of backroom dealing are the problems. He should check with the voters.

    January 19, 2010 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  16. mac

    did you hear the shot fired across the bow dems? people are tired of it all the hard left wing socializing

    did you hear the shot fired acroos the bow repubs? people are tired of it all where is you plan? put it out there for us to see you are late on nancy reagans message of just say no. it is time you showed what you are made of and for whom

    January 20, 2010 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. Mike

    The demorats have alot more to change than just health care or they will be riding off in the sunset come November. We have had enough of nobama and the liberal demorats.

    January 20, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  18. R.O.B.

    No don't pass the senate bill. Put health care reform on the backburner for now and focus on issues we the American people are more concerned about. Like bringing the price of gas back down below 2 bucks, that would help out a great deal. Creating new jobs, where are all those green jobs that were promised on the campaign trail? If elected officials aren't going to deliver for us, then it's simple, we'll get rid of you and put someone else in who we feel will listen to the voices of the people.

    January 20, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  19. digger

    To all you libs that are crying over this,WE WON GET OVER IT. How does it feel.

    January 20, 2010 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  20. D.D.

    Weiner was the only one there along with Ed Schulz that stayed truly focused. Change was a mantra – not a reality activity. So sad. Reality TV gets more done. Oh that was a campaign promise that things would be done on C Span.
    ***Tomorrow the White House Democrat Leaders will still have their fingers on many things and their hands on nothing.*** [That's a paraphase.]

    Health Care will be scaled back that it will be those who have care will have it unless you change jobs and make 100 K – otherwise you lose it. It will be by the Rich for the Richest Health Care. They wasted and ate up time. Pitiful, People, Pitiful!!!

    January 20, 2010 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  21. Kettle2

    figures...................last time i will get involved in politics...
    nor will anyone get my vote....

    Americans need heathcare reform...........they have needed it for the last 20 yrs....soon boomers will be retiring...they will not (the majority) be able to afford healthcare and the emergency rooms are going to be overloaded.

    January 20, 2010 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  22. Rick

    This Heath care bill has never been about heath care...its about Money.

    January 20, 2010 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  23. Just Me

    But it's unclear if that option, like other contingency plans Democrats are considering, is doable now.

    Well they need to make it doable and PRONTO. They need to get this thing passed!!

    January 20, 2010 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  24. JMikey54

    Please do pass the senate version of health care reform. it is a start. You have to start somewhere. it can be tweaked at a later time, but if nothing is done it would be a long time before anything is done and we need health care reform now.

    January 20, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  25. Joe


    Are we really talking about a "better than nothing" bill? What a bunc of losers we are! Whatever happened to the moral high ground and doing the right things for this country?

    January 20, 2010 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
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