March 16th, 2010
05:16 PM ET
8 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. MatthewDetroit

    Hey Zombie Guy....

    You are not a millionaire and you have nothing of value to say here.
    Please exit the site.
    Thank you.

    March 16, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. Nathaniel

    Just look at the pointless back and forth on this site. Time to pass the bill and let the chips fall where they may. we'll see who was right ... ( i suspect at this point it would be the democrats)

    March 16, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Candi

    HC bill or not,the drug companies and insurance companies are not going to suddenly give away their products.The government owns GM and I have not seen them quit charging for their cars,in fact Ford has better prices.This HC bill is just not the answer to middle America either medical of economic.

    March 16, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. get real

    I say Nancy and the Democrats can use any tactic the Republicans have used in the past. Git R Done!

    March 16, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. File under "Sarcasm"

    Pelosi and Obama think they can change the rules every other day as they scramble to pass a healthcare bill even their own party won't vote for. That's all you need to know about how good their healthcare reform is.

    The only think it fixes is Obama promise to change healthcare whether or not there's any hope that the bill will actually do anything other than to raise our costs and the Country's deficit.

    March 16, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. jj123

    Claudia, Houston, Tx March 16th, 2010 5:43 pm ET

    President Obama is the best President in the history of this country
    Oh please

    March 16, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    Up or down? Just plain fraud, if you ask me.

    March 16, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Doing things like redefining what "up or down" means is going to be Obama's legacy. Talk, spin, process and reprocess, shift, duck, tricks, back-room deals, and distraction. The glitter is tarnished.

    March 16, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

    Yeah Mathew – sniffet is a Lawyer that clearly has no practice or clients because everytime I come to post for a few minutes a day, he is here all day long posting his drivel.

    March 16, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Sheryl


    March 16, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Stacie

    Oh, what a lovely sign of maturity from MatthewDetroit. Yes, this is the person who speaks for ALL American People.

    Sorry, this American DOES WANT the healthcare bill to pass. I have a problem with lying and cheating. That's why I typically don't vote for Republicans. They wrote the DISHONESTY play book. What's the problem with the other team using the good ole GOP playbook????

    March 16, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Steve

    My, my. Aren't our friends on the right becoming more hysterical and virulent with each passing day as health care reform moves closer to becoming a reality.

    Love it.


    March 16, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Elle in WA

    I hope they do WHATEVER it takes to pass this bill. The MAJORITY of American people DO want health reform, and it would be stupid of the Dems to let the lobbyist-loving GOP derail a bill that is (and has for a long time been) so desperately needed. The GOP is known for using dirty tactics to get bills passed, so it's about time the Democrats use the SAME tactics to get something so important through the House and Senate.

    YES! YES! YES!

    March 16, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. File under "Sarcasm"

    Obama wants an up or down vote as long as it's in his favor. It's like trying terrorists in civilian courts. The only verdict the Administration will accept is quilty so everything else is just a show of smoke and mirrors for show.

    "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    March 16, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Sonny Pazin

    Please don't cry Republicans, cause you were all about this kind of stuff when Bush was in office. You are so duplicitous that you have no notion of what honesty really is, except for what you want to manipulate. Cut the boo-hoo and sky is falling crap!

    March 16, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Pres. Obama's conscience

    This stinks. And you know it.

    March 16, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Michael

    The wealthy pay a tiny fraction of their income for expensive health care because they have boatloads of money.
    The poor pay nothing for health care because the rest of us pay for it in taxes.
    The middle class pays 30% of our salaries for insurance that gives us little or no protection from being wiped out by expensive health care. We end up paying the most and receiving the least! What gives?
    Middle-class America deserves better! When will we be able to live more than a single health problem away from ruin? Why do Americans have to live this way, alone of all middle class citizens of the industrialized world?
    Give us health care we can afford, now – even if that means a few insurance companies go down the toilet. We have been there all along due to their rapaciousness.

    March 16, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Pelosi lies more than Obama

    That's why I typically don't vote for Republicans. They wrote the DISHONESTY play book. What's the problem with the other team using the good ole GOP playbook????

    SOOO, Two wrongs then will make it right?????????

    March 16, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. MatthewDetroit

    The fact is that the health care bill is a bad bill.

    It raises taxes and it raises spending.
    The President is supposed to be concerned about job creation and fixing the economy.

    He is twisting arms and forcing Dems to vote for him when they do not want to. And yes you cant deny that he is forcing them otherwise they vote would have been taken weeks ago and he would have lost.

    He is cheating and stealing votes.
    Now Nancy Pelosi does not even want a vote because she knows she will lose.

    She is now saying she will take a vote on amendments only.
    She said that the bill will be "deemed acceptable" Her Words.....
    She is scared to hold a vote.

    Hey its not Republcans stopping this bill......It is Democrats with brains.

    March 16, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    WE need to stop this bill now.

    If this bill is STOPPEd then we can see the Insurance companies boom and make huge profits.

    AND I'm sure that it will NOT go the way of the financial collapse.

    I mean it's proven that reform of any kind leads to the destruction of the "bubble"

    What's even more awesome is when this bill fails, NO HCR WILL EVER BE BROUGHT UP AGAIN.

    My boys BCBS, Aetna and the like can make billions off of you REAL AMERICAN PATRIOTS HWO SUPPORT US.

    God bless the Insurance companies. If it wasn't for them America would be overpopulated right now because of all the lives saved.

    Less people alive = more money for me and my top 1% posse.

    March 16, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Concerned

    It is obvious Obama did not grow up in the US in the way he plays politics. In other countries this is exactly how the dictators lead!

    March 16, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Kevin in Ohio

    What I listened to on the News today was disgusting and disgraceful.... liberal democrats attempting to side-step the Constitution and Democracy on this travesty of a bill. If you lefties want communism and socialism so much, please leave.

    March 16, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Rickster

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, while 53% oppose it. Those findings include 23% who Strongly Favor the plan and 46% who Strongly Oppose it.

    March 16, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. terry,va.

    If the dumbocraps bypass an up and down vote on the senate bill and just vote on the amendments and assume the senate bill passed, I hope the White House and congress is burned down. The country isn't under a dictatorship. It is however ran by a bunch of dumbocrap idiots.

    March 16, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Jesus(the Zombie version)

    Please fail this HCR bill.

    If we vote "no", then that's 18,000 less Americans living here every year.

    Oh, that's the number of people who die every year due to lack of insurance.

    NOW that's MY AMERICA!

    Money > Human Life

    March 16, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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