November 6th, 2009
11:48 AM ET
10 years ago

House health care vote may be delayed, sources say

Sharp differences among Democrats over abortion and immigration have raised questions over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has the 218-vote majority needed for passage of the bill.

Sharp differences among Democrats over abortion and immigration have raised questions over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has the 218-vote majority needed for passage of the bill.

Washington (CNN) - A hotly anticipated health care reform vote by the full House of Representatives may be delayed until Sunday, according to two Democratic sources.

But the vote on the nearly $1.1 trillion bill is still tentatively scheduled for Saturday, the sources noted.

The sources blamed the potential postponement on GOP delaying tactics. Sharp differences among Democrats over abortion and immigration, however, have raised questions over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has the 218-vote majority needed for passage.

Full coverage: Health care

Republican leaders added to the turmoil Friday morning, seizing on news of spiraling unemployment to warn that new taxes and regulations including in the sweeping reform measure would push the country into an economic abyss.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, prepared for a rare Saturday Capitol Hill visit to twist Democratic arms on what has become a virtual make-or-break issue for his young administration.

Related: Health care wins two big backers

The question of abortion coverage in the health care bill has bedeviled top Democrats for weeks. Under its current language, the measure would allow individuals to purchase policies through a new insurance exchange that would cover abortion procedures. Anti-abortion rights Democrats, led by Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak, have argued that provisions designed to prevent tax dollars from being used to directly pay for such services are inadequate.

Stupak is one of up to 40 anti-abortion Democrats reportedly unsatisfied with the language - potentially enough to strip Pelosi of the 218-vote majority needed to pass the bill.

Democratic leaders may turn to compromise language drafted by Rep. Brad Ellsworth, an Indiana Democrat opposed to abortion rights. Ellsworth has proposed using private contractors to pay providers of abortion services - an idea that has come under fire from both supporters and opponents of abortion rights.

At the same time, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus staunchly oppose adding a provision to the bill that would bar undocumented workers from using their own money to buy health insurance policies available through the exchange.

The measure is already included in the Senate Finance Committee's version of the bill, and is backed by the White House. Some conservative House Democrats have also indicated their support for the Senate language.

Pelosi's bill currently includes various requirements for immigrants to verify their citizenship before getting federal subsidies to buy health insurance. Conservatives, however, have called the requirements insufficient.

–CNN's Dana Bash, Lisa Desjardins and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. Jim

    I'm amused at how the Republicans are warning of this causing us to go into an abyss. Doesn't anyone remember that just a year ago we were in an abyss that they caused? We're still climbing out of that. I don't think we should be taking economic advice from anyone in the Republican party as they have a long losing track record.

    November 6, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Sam Sixpack

    They're coming to the place where they (Pelosi & Co.) will slip in the last minute language that nobody gets to see until after the vote. Then they will claim they don't know how it happened.

    November 6, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Zach K

    Democrats will be more likable if this passes. The public approves of this approach for a public option. Don't delay it, because of the GOP's political backlash. PASS IT. DO IT NOW.

    November 6, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. G.Kazmier

    I am a believer in fixing what is broke, not redoing the entire system of health care under government rule in a bill that was written by groups who do not have our best interests in mind.

    Most Americans do not want a socialist run health care plan, nor do they want government take-over of every aspect of their life, nor do they need leaders who are not looking out for their best interests. Be careful who you vote for next election. Do you research on the politicians and who they associate with. You may be voting for someone who want WORLD GOVERNMENT!!!!!!! Not in America's best interest is it?

    Wake up America before you find yourself living the "Communist Dream" that some politicians have in mind for us all.

    November 6, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Eric in Denver

    Is this really a surprise. We are in an economic collapse because of Barack and his crazy spending and now we want to kill 18% of the economy? This bill is a complete sham. People will be taxed that don't have insurance, small businesses will be taxed, insurance companies will be taxed, and the people that have cadillac plans paid by their employer will be taxed. Why take money out of people's pockets when it is tough enough to pay day to day bills. The employees of the greedy insurance industry(2% profit margin to all you geniuses out there) will lose there jobs as well as millions of people connected to this industry. If the so called blue dogs want to lose next year please vote for this bill because that will put the icing on the cake of your short stint in the congress. Miss Pelosi doesn't care about you or anybody except the crazy people in her district that vote for her.

    November 6, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Headless

    I have deal for ya. If you dont like healthcare reform then please either you or your parents or both, remove yourself from medicare.

    November 6, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Mike1952

    What shame! Trying to force this on the American people. How did this grandma from Mars ever rise to this position? Her radical views are so far out of the mainstream it's ridiculous. Better back up and re-do this monstrosity with a little common sense. The conservatives have a far better starting point for this. Pelosi's will bankrupt America and then we'll all have nothing. Health care included.

    How will "Baghdad Bob" Gibbs propagandise the unemployment numbers. BO fiddles while America burns. Just pitiful. Failure on all fronts.

    November 6, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    The Independents I know are already planning to vote against anyone who opposes this bill.

    I know 2 repulicans in this state that will be in the same position as Libby Dole next year !!

    She did nothing – they do nothing.

    November 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. a health economist

    The Democrats bill is by no means perfect. But the Republicans are stonewalling trying to bide time in hopes that they can reclaim seats next election and try to get back into the majority. Plain and simple.

    While some of the reforms the Republicans want are warrented, if things are done their way (be it the status quo or all of their reforms) the outcome will pale in comparison to what the Democrats bill would produce.

    Uncontrolled, free-market capitalism DOES NOT WORK EFFICIENTLY IN THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY. The fairy tale perfect world that is created by the "invisible hand" of the free-market that the Republicans preach only exists in economic text books. And even if the text book examples existed, economic theory dictates that competition would completely drive out profits for companies. We all know the Republicans don't want this. (I don't want it either by the way).

    November 6, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. vic nashville , Tn

    G.W.Bush and his administration Add Iraqis in our payroll

    But here we are struggling to give health care for Americans

    Really republicans care about us NO

    Today morning FOX was complaining Tea party didn’t get enough coverage

    Fox doesn’t know what they are doing

    November 6, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. New Age Independent

    As more details of the healthcare bill are researched, it's extremely apparent that this is NOT the kind of reform that Americans want. 6 Months wait for chronic, potentially fatal, illness? Do the Democrats actually believe this is a good idea?

    The Democrats are the new party of "NO"!

    NO Reasonable Healthcare Reform
    NO Bi-Partisonship
    NO Government Tansparancy
    NO Ethics
    NO, ok YES to Pork Spending
    NO JOBS!

    November 6, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Joy


    Go to CSPAN to veiw the hearings on healthcare and many of the other issues currently being debated.

    That"s the only place one can get the real facts.

    November 6, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Enough

    Delay it! We can't afford it and we don't want it! Reform health insurance companies and get out of bed with the lawyers..........then everyone can afford to purchase their own health insurance. Keep the government out of it.

    November 6, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. SLM

    Quit blaming the GOP, this mess is 100% Democratic created and controlled. The GOP have been left out of all of it and now they are trying to blame them. We don't want this mess

    November 6, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Obama 2012

    NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE 63 MILLION VOTERS TO MARCH ON WASHINGTON. The Republicans are stalling for the insurance companies who finance their political coffers.

    November 6, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Jeff

    GOP delaying tactics? the reason the U.S.A. is falling behind in everything progressive in the world?

    the GOP has destroyed us!

    November 6, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. ArchNeoCon

    The Democrat-led three-ring circus in Congress continues. They don't have the votes for a public option, taxpayer-funded abortion or coverage for illegals. And they won't get them. I need more popcorn. Watching this continuing comedy routine is hilarious.

    November 6, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Mike

    I would like to see the comparison of the Republican spending versus the current administrations spending. Don't forget who got us into this mess with these wasteful wars and corporate corruption. It's so ironic that Republicans are all the sudden concerned with spending. What a joke!

    November 6, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. David

    marion/alabama November 6th, 2009 11:56 am ET

    I thought they had added language to keep illegals from getting health insurance under the Government option?but it is not in the bill
    That is in the bill. The current debate is about whether illegal aliens should be banned from buying insurance with money out of their own pockets. If they are banned, it virtually guarantees that illegal aliens only choice for health care will be the emergency rooms. I'm not saying illegal aliens belong in the US but preventing them from buying their own insurance is not a good approach.

    November 6, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Tim

    To BMW Have you ever ran a business?? Obviously not because your rationale is about as moronic a statement as I have ever heard!! First of all no business is going to hire employees because they would save $500.00 a month on health insurance by having a single payer system paid for by the Gov't when the net affect of hiring someone including matching Soc. Sec. and Medicaid, unemployment (futa), salary, corporate tax rate of 38% ridiculous. Actually laughable lol lol Did you ever stop to think that NOTHING IS FREE??? A govt run healthcare will cost us (including you if you work??) taxes far beyond what we are currently paying which is ridiculous in itself already. MOre and more companies are going to leave for overseas because we are making the burden of owning a business useless, why am I working 14-16 hours a day so you or some one else doesn't have to work for a living?? Better yet anyone whose household doesn't pay any tax shouldn't be allowed to vote to raise someone else's taxes!!!! Wake up America before your entitlement mentality will bankrupt us!!

    November 6, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Kevin in Ohio

    The true story is probably that Nancy does NOT have the votes to ram this through an down our throats). This bill is a TRAVESTY, and will cause ireperable economic harm. Left-wingers just seem to think that 1 trillion dollars grows on trees...... "Obama-money".

    November 6, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Tanesha Allen

    This article ment a lot to me because im one of the few people that needs health care. So, I do hope that Sunday the House of Representative will continue with getting the health care bill together. This article continues talks about requirements for immigrants to verify their citizenship and stoping abortions before buying health insurance. But Sharp says differences among Democrats over abortion and immigration have raised questions over whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently has the 218-vote majority needed for passage of the bill. So the Democatics hope that on Sunday the 218 votes can get the bill passed.

    November 6, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Congress should have to take this health care for themselves too.

    November 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. terry,va

    I thought abortion and medical coverage for aliens was not covered in the bill Obummie. YOU LIE!!! Joe Wilson was right.

    November 6, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Marie Laveaux

    The Republicans unveiled their so-called plan's a joke. All of you people sreaming about your grandchildren's tax burdens won't have to worry if this goes your way and we don't get substantial change. They won't live long enough to pay any taxes because they won't be able to afford going to a doctor or getting surgery.

    November 6, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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