March 16th, 2010
05:16 PM ET
4 years ago

What's an 'up or down' vote? It depends ...

Robert Gibbs faced questions Tuesday about a new strategy to pass health care in the House.
Robert Gibbs faced questions Tuesday about a new strategy to pass health care in the House.

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration seems to be redefining what an "up or down" vote on health care means.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs dodged repeated questions Tuesday about the possibility of a "deem and pass" rule vote being considered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

Gibbs reverted to talking points when asked about the procedure, which would sidestep a direct vote on the Senate bill. "I don't think anybody is going to misinterpret the outcome on where people are on health care," he offered.

Another White House aide said that "no decision has been made in the House," but added, "either way, there's going to be an up or down vote. That's the whole point."

At a health care event in Strongsville, Ohio, on Monday, President Obama told the crowd, "I believe Congress owes the American people a final up or down vote."

When Gibbs was pressed at his daily briefing to explain, he said the administration is being clear with the public on what it wants Congress to do and called questions a "legislative process game."

Republicans accuse Democrats of trying to "pull the wool over the eyes of the American public." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said "it is time for rank-and-file Democrats to pull the fire alarm and save the American people from this latest scheme."

The Democrats are avoiding a direct vote on a Senate bill that includes deals that Obama said he wants out and that many House Democrats object to but are having to swallow to pass reform as a whole.

The President had no public events on his schedule Tuesday, but top aides said he spent a big part of his day trying to woo House Democrats who are undecided on the vote.


Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Allen in Hartwell Ga

    When the Republicans used the "deem and pass" rule it was fine. But we all know that story. The Republicans just don't Obama to get anything passed, and they'd sell their grandkids to ensure that end. That's right, they already have, but to support Bush and his budget busting 8 years.

    March 16, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    I would like to know what lies the Democrats are telling. Please be specific when you post, I will check back for answers.

    (excuse the shouting)

    HEALTHCARE IS ABOUT SAVING AMERICAN LIVES! THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS ....... DIE....... EVERY........ YEAR BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE HEALTHCARE.

    Social Programs that the Republicans have been against:

    Social Security
    SCHIP
    Medicare
    Medicaid
    Unemployment Benefits
    Minimum Wage

    Republicans have also been against:

    The Civil Rights Bill
    Voting Rights Bill

    WHICH PARTY IS ........FOR ........YOU.......... AMERICA??????????

    March 16, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  3. Ridgeway

    He owes it to America to admit he's grossly unqualified to hold office and to resign. He can take skeleton face Pelosi and that miserable excuse for a human, Harry Reid with him. Actually, he can take all of the people who voted for him and go to Hell.

    March 16, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Raniel

    How very sad it is that the wife of a supreme court justice starts her on movement, based on a ruling by the court. Arent they suppoced tobe non political????? But then King George nominated most of them.
    What a country we live in.

    March 16, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    If the House votes yes or no directly on the Senate bill everyone will know who supported or opposed the Senate version of Obamacare. If If the House votes yes or no on a rule that assumes the Senate bill was passed everyone will know who supported or opposed the Senate version of Obamacare because if the rule does not pass the Senate version does not pass. Same difference. No one who votes yes on the rule can get out of being responsible for voting for the Senate bill. Voters are not as stupid as Obama and the Democrats in Congress would like them to be.

    March 16, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Raniel

    How is it that "FOX NEWS " and Republican (Conservatives) can get away with so many lies. and no one corrects them.
    LIES AREN QUOTED AS TRUTH WITHOUT ANY CHALLENGE>
    WHY????????????????????

    March 16, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  7. Mike in MN

    The American people do not want this bill to pass.
    The American people want health care reform and they want some of what is in this bill. But they also do not want a lot of what is in it.
    What they want is a new bill that gives them what they want and does not force on them what they do not want.
    If Obama and the Democrats force on the American people what they do not want they will vote Obama and the Dems out and ask the Republicans to fix the Obamacare mess.
    Bye, bye Obama and the socialist Dems.

    March 16, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. annie against biased news

    It is no surprise the obama chicago administration is redefining the 'up/down vote. They are trying to redefine the Constitution! Any of these politicians and I mean any of the sorry lot who are trampling on the Constitution should be tried for treason!

    March 16, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Mark

    Gibbs is an IDIOT! I can hardly stand watching his briefings.

    March 16, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  10. Tim from NC

    You Liberals are amazing..... You think that the government can run anything efficiently???? Look at Medicare, Medicais, the Post Office and any other government run entity...... Honestly, do you actually believe the gov't (either party) can run health care???? If so, you need serious help.....

    March 16, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. Gerry NH

    Actually there is a $500 billion cut to medicare and the administration AKA (the mafia) said they would make this up by stopping fraud over 10 years. Last year they recovered $2 billion and the year befor $1.6 billion. If recovering this amount of money for the next nine years that will be $20 billion. Only one place in America does $20 billion equal $500 billion and that is congress. Smart group. This bill does not reform anything and we need to replace everyone in congress.

    March 16, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. cph9680

    Please pass it without voting for it...The Supreme Court will wring that thing dead!

    March 16, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. concerned on the OR coast

    I love how lawyers think that they know how the world works and the rest of us struggle to understand. In their minds it is better if they do the thinking for us and let us know what we can and cannot do.

    This is the worst bypass of the democratic process in history as far as I'm concerned. If it takes procedural "tricks" and the president devoting his time to court those democrats who are unsure about the bill then it is obviously not something the American people want. If you have to worry about what your constituents are going to think then it's obvious that it's not what they want. Us, the American people, the ones voting for you. Remember us? Even all the way out here in Oregon, not just the Beltway, not President Obama's office. If you vote for this no amount of campaigning that he can promise (and I say "promise", let alone actually give you) will save your seat.

    I know the left will scream back about how republicans are the ones who wrote the playbook on dirty tricks and so on. That may be true to some extent, but this is supposedly defining a Congress and a President! I think everyone in Washington needs to put their ego's aside (actually, I'm only talking to Madame Speaker Pelosi here) and think this through. If you are going to do it, make it something that your constituents will re-elect you for, not give you the boot over it.

    March 16, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Willy Brown

    Democrats don't have the votes so they are going to RAM this down our throats. Yep right in front of you sheep.

    March 16, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. m smith

    Can not believe these dummies running areound calling people liers. What a waste of space. Most intellegent people see a need for health care reform . there are hundreds of thousans fo us that have prexisting conditions or have been denied coverage, And yes the lady the president sited is sick and getting sicker. What a bunch of low life to suggest otherwise. No one has asked me but yes I want health coverage, And the stuff that goes into effect the first year will help me a lot. Seniors need help with thw donut hole in part D and if your young you probaly dont understand taht but you will when you have to pay large amount of money to cover that period. The only liers are the people who would have you believe this is a bad thing.

    March 16, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. m smith

    Can not believe these dummies running areound calling people liers. What a waste of space. Most intellegent people see a need for health care reform . there are hundreds of thousans fo us that have prexisting conditions or have been denied coverage, And yes the lady the president sited is sick and getting sicker. What a bunch of low life to suggest otherwise. No one has asked me but yes I want health coverage, And the stuff that goes into effect the first year will help me a lot. Seniors need help with thw donut hole in part D and if your young you probaly dont understand taht but you will when you have to pay large amount of money to cover that period. The only liers are the people who would have you believe this is a bad thing. Mathew and Tim sound like a couple of jerks. They are probably all of 20 and could care less about health care but they will. WE voted for change and that is what we want.

    March 16, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. indy

    If the votes aren't there and the people aren't willing to let their vote be known, the bill must not be any good. I'm tired of the strong-arm tactics that all Democrats have to vote for this bill. Honestly, the President doesn't plan to campaign with/for any Democrat voting against this bill. That's the way to be mature. I plan to vote against my Representative and Senator who plan to vote for this bill regardless of all the payoffs that are part of it. All the little benefits to those Senators to get their vote should be scrapped. Imagine how much more economical this bill could be without all that "crap"!

    March 16, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. Jenn, Philadelphia

    I can't believe the people in support of this idea. This is Congress saying they're too afraid to take a public position on a bill they say is what we need or it could jeopardize they're reelections. How is passing a bill in this manner ever a good example of governance?

    March 16, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  19. j

    JUST PASS IT ALREADY! Get it done. The bill can be amended, it's just a starting point, but it needs to be PASSED ASAP! GO DEMOCRATS GO!

    March 16, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. JON

    Dem and Pass has been used 300 times by the Right yes you need to check facts first. 300 times MathewDetroit FOX news just called your new job is ready. This is what you have A NEWS CHANNEL TELLING YOU THAT THIS IS BAD AND WHY ? ....RATINGS. The right want you to think this is government takeover so they can put fear into you just like the 2 wars that has cost us 8 trillion dollars and 10 thousand American lives and 100's of thousand innocent lives. Is this the world you want ? The right white telling you what books to read putting the country's debt you the middle and lower class because we all know that big business is not to blame or that if the rich had more money that it would flow down,,,,,,,,right ....grow up look around after 30 years of the right ruling America is it better or worse.

    March 16, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  21. aware

    This is the time of year when we celebrate resurrection and the Kingdom of God. It is the time when we say, Jesus is Lord and Obama is not.

    When God is left out of leadership human complicity is involved in: The way of the lie – propaganda, the way of manipulation and the way of depersonalization. Everything is abstract, impersonal, and disguised as good, but it is really dehumanizing, death dealing and alienating.

    It is evil that does not look like evil – that is disguised as light – that has all the appearance of good but silently and invisibly destroys people's lives.

    March 16, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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