February 26th, 2010
03:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Pelosi makes reconciliation push

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed on Friday that Democrats are making tentative plans to use reconciliation to pass a health care bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed on Friday that Democrats are making tentative plans to use reconciliation to pass a health care bill.

Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went further than any top Democrat has before in confirming what was become an open secret in Washington: Democrats are making tentative plans to use a controversial parliamentary shortcut to send the president a health care bill, with or without GOP votes.

The House Speaker called the legislative tool known as reconciliation "a simple majority" and said "that's what we're asking the Senate to act upon."

Democratic sources have told CNN that the general plan is for the House to pass the Senate bill and send it to the president, and for a package of changes that mirror the President's plan to be passed through both chambers under reconciliation rules, which would only need 51 votes in the Senate.

Pelosi for the first time publicly laid out those tentative plans, and said the first step is figuring out exactly what that package of changes will be. She held out the possibility of incorporating some ideas Republicans put forward in Thursday's all day health care summit.

"Maybe we can find some positive suggestions from what they were talking about there," Pelosi said.

But Republicans repeatedly made clear they do not support one large health care bill, so they are unlikely to be swayed by Democrats including any GOP ideas in their legislation.

To work around that Republican opposition by using the reconciliation process, Democrats are exploring two issues: the ins-and-outs of how complicated process could work, and whether the votes are there in the Senate and House to execute this strategy.

On the process, Democratic aides say they are consulting with the parliamentarians in both the House and the Senate on what is possible.

One example of an open question for the parliamentarians is whether it is possible to pass the changes before the House votes on the Senate bill.

Many House Democrats say that's the only way they would agree to the complicated scenario because they don't like the Senate bill, and do not trust the Senate to follow through with a promise to pass the compromise package.

One senior House Democratic leadership aide tells CNN that is "the biggest" obstacle right now in this whole process.

House Democrats would likely require an iron clad commitment from Senate Democrats and the President before agreeing to pass the changes first.

Another question Democrats have for the parliamentarians is more fundamental: what can they actually pass through the reconciliation process? It is only supposed to be used for legislation that affects taxes and the deficit.

Then there is the challenge of whether Democrats even have enough votes to pull off the complicated game plan.

Democratic sources say they still aren't completely sure there would even be a 51 vote simple majority in the Senate to finalize health care with the parliamentary short cut.

Although Democratic leaders are already reminding the public that Republicans used reconciliation many times for their legislation, some Democrats may be concerned about a public backlash in the face of GOP accusations that they short circuited the process.

The House may be even tougher. House Democrats passed their version of health care with a slim majority and will be missing several votes because of vacancies. The one Republican who voted for the House bill, Rep Joseph Cao, R-La, already says he'll be a "no" next time. There may also be some vulnerable Democrats facing tough races this year who decide to change their yes vote to no.

But the biggest obstacle to passing the Senate's health bill in the House and getting it to the president's desk may be abortion. By some estimates close to a dozen anti abortion Democrats may vote against the bill because they say it's not strict enough in making sure tax payer dollars are not spent on the procedure.


Filed under: Health care • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Marko

    I keep hearing numbers like 52% or 50% of the American people do not want healthcare. That sounds like half to me. So why is the other half, that do want healthcare reform treated like they don't exist by the Republicans?

    February 26, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. no_longer_dem

    fools. Reconciliation is NOT in the constitution, it is a protocol introduced by congress, and for the reason, healthcare passed with it will be deemed unconstitutional. This kid-president has wasted a year

    February 26, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Kat

    Give it up Pelosi, We don't want your stupid health care plan. Start over and include the repubs and listen to the wishes of the American people who pay your salary.

    February 26, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Truth

    If you have watched the Thursday's Health care debate, one thing is sure. The Republicans have *NO* plan to support this government, any time soon. They want the Democrats to fail and President in particular. They do not care for the people. They are using the misguided folks and showin poll numbers, which have no relevance to sick people.

    I am sick of this naked urge for power grab by Republicans, sacrificing the very people they are supposed to protect.

    I request the president to go ahead and do what is good for this country.

    February 26, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Get er done

    Looking forward to having more affordable health care options. They used to call us the working poor but now we're the insurance poor. I have insurance through my employer but due to higher and higher premiums they have had to raise our deductibles to keep the benefit available to employees. My deductible is $2,500 and when my doctor recommended a colonoscopy I had to decline because of the co-pay and deductible.

    February 26, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. rob

    Good! It's about time!

    February 26, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    If the American if most of the American people don't want it and a few dope smoking, non working, non taxpaying Oprah watchers do, you can sure bet old botox face will come down on the side of robbing hard working taxpayers.

    February 26, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Debby

    Go ahead Pelosi your destroying the Dem. party anyway. I hope people realize this so called affordable healthcare won't be in effect for a few years. They need to go back to square one and work on finding something for right now not years away.

    February 26, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Mike

    About time! Bush used reconciliation about 5 times. The bill has already passed the senate & house. Let's push it through for Christ's sake.

    February 26, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Keepin It Real

    PUSH IT THROUGH! People are dying at the hands of the GOP. If we can't get health care reform passed, we should demand our tax payers dollars do not pay for anyone who vote no against the bill. Congress should give up their insurance until all Americans are insured.

    February 26, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Jennifer

    Absolutely YES they should!

    February 26, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    This Looney must have destroyed her brain when she "broke through the glass ceiling" when they annointed her Speaker! All I can say is "U go Gurl" cause U R going in November back to California!

    February 26, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Wanderer

    We cannot tell for sure if the majority of American public supports or opposes the Health Care Reform, but it is very certain that every American wants health care because every American needs healthcare. Whichever party OK providing health care to every American will continue controlling congress. Whoever signs the bill that provides health care for every American is the real POTUS and hero of the U.S.

    February 26, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Keith in Austin

    Trust in the fact if Liberal Democrats opt for the reconciliation vote on healthcare, they will rue the day! Obozocare in it's current form is rife with higher costs, higher taxes and major cuts affecting our Seniors. True Political suicide that will bury progressive liberalism once and for all. Go Nancy Go!

    February 26, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Victim of GOP Taliban

    It's about time...do it Nancy. Boehner and his cronies keep repeating the same bogus talking points without offering any solutions. That's not enough to fix healthcare by just saying you want tort reform and interstate competition...really Boehner is a liar and would prefer just cutting all entitlements

    February 26, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Mike in MN

    Voters have rejected Obamacare and want it killed and to start on a new bill. The summit did not change that. Obama, Pelosi and Reid refuse to listen to the will of the people. The idiot Biden even said he can't figure out what the will of the people even is. Guess a dozen polls all saying the same thing does not regiseter on his brain.
    The Republicans asked Obama and the Demorats to do exactly as a majority of voters wish, to kill the bills and start over. Obama refused.
    So who is obstructing the will of the people now? Unless the summit flipped the majority of voters to support Obamacare, which I don't think it did, Obama, Pelosi and Reid are pretty much just flipping the voters off.

    February 26, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. ran

    Good. Use it and get this over with and then go on to a jobs bill, energy bill, immigration bill, education bill and any other business that will help the people and if need be use reconciliation to get it all done.

    The Hell with the fear/hate/obstructionist Republicans/ blue dogs and especially Lieberman.

    February 26, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. John

    I'm an independent who has voted for the Democrats in the last three elections. It will be years before I vote for another Democrat. Expecting people other than the Democratic base to agree with ultraliberal policy is not Bipartisan. The manner in which they've crafted these bills shows that the Democrats are the real party of no.

    February 26, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. joec

    Reconciliation is an arrogant power grab that is in direct conflict with the intentions of our founding fathers. Joe Biden's quote when the Republicans were going to use reconcilitation to get a judge seated. What a bunch of money grubbing hypocrites.

    February 26, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. James

    I say do it, and as soon as the republicans 51 seats back, they use reconciliation to drive home every piece of legislation possible, on every vote, on every issue...

    February 26, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. gt

    you cant trust a person who back charles rangel even after he was caught red handed,,, americans dont trust nasty nancy

    February 26, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. J.P.

    Translation:
    Pelosi asks congressional democrats to commit political mass suicide.

    Obama is truly Jim Jones.

    I'll supply the water to mix their kool-aid.

    Welcome to 25 years in the political wilderness, socialists.

    February 26, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. ANGIE IN PA

    well its about time!!!

    February 26, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Reggie

    Pelosi and Obama are inept. Why did I vote for Obama? Won't make that mistake again...

    February 26, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. Stallion

    Pelosi is not doing her job. Her job is to "represent" the voters. All she and a great deal of her fellow democrats are doing is "obstructing" the will of the majority. Do your job babe and quit this know it all, superiority trip you are on. If you want to force something down somebody's throat then stuff it down your own throat first....

    February 26, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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