January 27th, 2010
05:49 PM ET
8 years ago

House Democrats consider bite size health care votes

House Democrats consider bite size health care votes.

House Democrats consider bite size health care votes.

Washington (CNN) – In an effort to try and revive the sweeping health care legislation, Democratic leaders are considering holding a series of votes on some of the most popular and populist aspects of their bill.

Multiple Democratic sources tell CNN the goal would be to more narrowly focus their message on health care by offering separate votes on parts of the original bill that they believe voters care about most. Some examples: empower the Secretary of Health and Human Services to force a decrease in drug prices and repeal the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.

These sources said House Democrats realize the Senate may not follow suit, and the smaller bills may not have a chance at becoming law. But the idea of several votes reflects a desire in the short term to try and keep up momentum on health care.

Meanwhile, work continues behind the scenes to salvage the broad health care bill.

Democratic leaders continue to work towards a strategy for the House to pass the Senate's health care legislation, but only alongside a separate package of compromise changes.

Since Democrats would no longer have 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, that package would have to be pushed through the Senate through a process known as "reconciliation," which requires 51 votes – a simple majority.

Though some moderate Democrats rejected using "reconciliation," Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, said Wednesday he would be open to the idea.

Filed under: Democrats • Health care • House
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Chris

    This is actually a good idea. We should do this with every aspect of any bill. That way we get reform and maybe not the controversial stuff. I like it.

    January 27, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Wow – let law makers choose which parts they support or not! Brilliant. If Dems had done that in the beginning instead of trying to ram the whole enchilada down everyone's throat, it might be done now!

    I know what Obama will say in the end: I wanted it to take a long time and be passed in compromised segments and not have a public option, blah, blah, blah. He changes his story to match the reality.

    January 27, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Keith in Austin


    Will somebody pinch old Nancy so she wakes up? (Try not to pinch too hard or her collegan injections will squirt through her thick 75 year old skin)

    January 27, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. jane

    When it comes to health care, our government is a disgrace. Republicans would turn us into a nation of aristocrats and peasants, and Democrats are wimps.

    January 27, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. Jane/Seattle

    I favor Howard Dean's approach. I think Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich and other Progress-Oriented folks would favor Howard's ideas, also. Expanded Medicare for those over 55.

    Since these Capitalists are so reluctant to even consider any reform, i think Universal Single Payer needs to wait until we get Republicans and Dogs OUT of office!


    January 27, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    It's funny, isn't it???
    House and Senate, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and unaffiliated (if there are any) ALL have COMPREHENSIVE "affordable health care" (that we subsidize) but they can't come together and find a way to provide it for us.

    In honesty, Republicans have made it their business to INSURE (get it, "insure" that WE DON'T GET IT...
    "We The People" need to get educated, get motivated and FIND AND SUPPORT NEW CANDIDATES who promise to vote in term limits, stay a short time and FIX THIS COUNTRY.
    The problem is, many of us are held down by the need to scratch out a living, and/or survive on the unemployment/welfare that Government provides while they ship jobs off shore and downsize to maximize profits so they can give bigger "campaign contributions" to their pet Representatives/Senators.

    January 27, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Steve-Illinois

    They need to give up on this turd and start over. Make reforms that make sense! These pie in the sky savings that will never come about is nonsense! These brain surgeons wasted a year pushing this behemoth of a bill that no one wants, while they ignored the thing Americans want most right now, jobs!!!
    It's the economy, stupid!!!

    January 27, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. rlene

    I'm afraid all this ranting and raving by the media is going to bite Americans in the butt. We need health care reform. It's going to be ashame if people end up with nothing because of biparticisim. The republicans had 8 years to get a health care bill together. "Now they have all the answers." I think a vote might help if we are trying to please congress and the senate. But people are suffering and dying. And trust me, they are not taking your CNN polls. Oh, and by the way, who does the Wall Street Journal represent????

    January 27, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. GJ

    Ugh. You spend almost year debating (stalling) on HCR, passing it through the House and Senate, with a willing to sign President and you are gonna give it up for piecemeal changes that do not fit the definition of "reform"??

    Get the House to drop their ego and political problems and pass the Senate bill. Secure the important changes via reconcillion. Even I don't believe the Democrats could mess up getting 50 members of their 59 member caucus to vote for it. I don't care if Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Lincoln and other Republican-lite Senators cry about it because it makes them less important, get it done.

    January 27, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. Big Blue

    Of course Mr. Nelson is open to it. He is open to holding the rest of the nation hostage to his states financial burden. No real surprise there. I believe the left is doing a two part move with this. First, they can get a feel for the new climate with the need to deal with the right now. Second, they can get right on record during votes to try and spin there intention (i.e. The republicans are the no party.) The left would love to keep that slogan going as it can harm the right if done correctly. Politics as usual. The rest of this year is dead for policy folks, it is campaign time AGAIN.

    January 27, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, said Wednesday he would be open to the idea.
    Senator Ben Nelson is a textbook example of what is wrong with Washington politics. Are you proud of your Repesentative, Nebraska? I didn't think so.

    January 27, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. Fitz in Texas

    I read somewhere that Pelosi and her husband own the packaging company that packages StarKist Tuna. I no longer buy StarKist Tuna until it's proven to me what I read was wrong. Enough of my money is put in her pocket. I'm not about to give her anymore.

    January 27, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. Lisa

    As long as the bill contains the public option...that's all I care about.

    January 27, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. OaklandTracy

    You know, somehow the Republicans managed to wreck the country with far less than 60 votes in the Senate. So, either we've now entered the era of the GOnoPe where they will tear down everything President Obama proposes just because they can't stand him, or the Democrats really are as spineless as I've always thought. Probably a little bit of both.

    January 27, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  15. Captain Awesome

    I don't see what the point is. More people are now against this healthcare reform bill and the momentum is moving away from the democrats. If the dems couldn't pass reform with a majority in both houses, what makes them think they'll be able to agree on anything by breaking it up into smaller pieces – especially after November when more Republicans are voted into office? This is precisely why many people don't trust government to run anything as huge as healthcare reform. These people couldn't run a hot dog stand.

    January 27, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. ran

    What is needed is for the Senate Democrats to use the reconciliation process and pass the house bill.

    Hell will freeze over before the Republicans will work with this President or the Democrats. So at this point why bother. Just get things done Democrats.

    January 27, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. voter

    nelson is singing a different tune since he was critisized for the backroom deal. glad to see he decided to wake up and pass hcr. the thugs passed the bush tax cuts through reconciliation so the dems should pass hcr in the same manner. the dems need to stop being cowards and do the right thing. for those critisizing the dems, where were you when the thugs were spending money like a druken sailor which benefited the wall street big shots and the 1% that are wealthy. spare me the fake outrage.

    January 27, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. JP

    PERFECT! Absolutely perfect approach to fixing the problem! Why couldn't the democrats have done this before? The republican's won't be able to vote no to everything if this is how the situation is approached. I am very happy to hear this news! Let's hope it works, because this can definitely get us health care reform!

    January 27, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. m smith

    anything to keep health care alive is welcome. The majority of this country voted of this administration . people forget this. We are the people who voted for better health care. It is amazing the the repos have to remind their party to be respectful tonight durning the presidnts speach. When they are no they are also being disrepectful to the majority of Americans that voted for him. Health care for all

    January 27, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Objective Thinking

    Finally some common sense. Separate things out so you don't attach good ideas to bad ones.

    January 27, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. joe m

    one can only suppose that the democrats, or rather SOME democrats such as N. Pelosi, either didn't get the message they were sent by the MA voters, or don't really care what american voters have to say. it would be easy to give them the benefit of the doubt if they hadn't been so devious in their attempt to pass a bill that THEY thought americans needed. instead, one has to be highly suspicious about this supposed attempt to pass 'bite sized' measures towards passing healthcare reform. any prudent person would suspect that this is just Pelosi's and her supporters' attempt to continue to pass THEIR bill. until a bill crafted by a trully bi-partisan group is available, healthcare needs to go back to the drawing board and not be acted upon. this is too big of a bill to get wrong.

    January 27, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. yea,yea,yea

    Why won't these goofs just realize that this is not a popular agenda and let it go. Pelosi needs to head on back to ca, and take boxer, feinstein and lee with her.

    January 27, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. ObamasRecordDefict

    When is IDIOT PELOSI going to RESIGN?

    January 27, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |