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. Kelly From Canada

    "The delays are beyond ridiculous....are you telling me that Canada, Australia, the UK and France are so much more advanced than the US that we can't even get health insurance reform to pass in this country? The stall tactics are beyond old news, get the job done or we'll be voting for someone who can."


    November 6, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Wade

    No public option.

    What many of you pro-public option kool-aid drinkers don't realize is 90% or more of you won't even qualify for it based on the current language in both the House and Senate versions.
    But the feds will surely tax you into oblivion to cover the costs.


    We need to reform the health care industry... not try and take it over.

    November 6, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Fired up yet?

    To headless. In addition to being headless, you must be brainless as well. Anyone who works or who has worked pays into this government-run program. We have no choice. Medicare taxes are government mandated. This reform will not take that away. We will still pay Medicare taxes and pay for health care reform as well. I would be more than happy to take myself and my parents out of Medicare, if the government would stop taking taxes for this out of my paycheck. You may be willing to pay taxes to Medicare your entire working life, and then at age 65 chose not to enroll, but I am not. I paid for it and I will use it. This government-run program, Medicare, is a joke, and I find it difficult to believe that the Pelosi bill will be run any differently. Medicare is taxpayer paid government health care. Do you honestly believe that the Pelosi bill will not be supported by government-mandated taxes?

    November 6, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Ben

    Delayed due to "Republican delay tatics!!!" Does anyone believe this?!?! Why do Dems continue to blame the GOP for EVERY ill?? The GOP has no power in Congress now (and hasn't since 2006), and this delay is due ENTIRELY to the infighting democrats.

    November 6, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Conserva-Baggers are bad for America

    Oh give me a break! I am so sick of the Party of Blockage I could just scream out loud, but I won't because I'm work. That's right you conservative, un-American, short-sighted, narrow-minded bigots who love to scream about how YOUR tax dollars are going to have to pay for health insurance for people who are "too lazy to work"! I'm a Progressive, with a darn good-paying job and I have excellant employer provided health insurance, but I STILL support health insurance reform with a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION. Why, you might ask???? Because I am a patriotic American, that's why! I understand that our country needs a HEALTHY populace in order to be viable in the world. So you can all shove your blocking and stalling tactics right up your collective keisters! WE WILL NOT GIVE UP AND WE WILL NOT BE DEFEATED!

    November 6, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. worriedmom

    @headless, I have a better deal for you, since you want this Pelosi health bill so bad why dont you put your money where your mouth is and be the do-gooder that all you Libs proclaim to be and sponsor a family and pay their health insurance or are you just one that wants another freebie from the Govt so you don't have to earn it!

    I find it interesting that they are blaming the delay on the GOP, why dont you tell the truth and state it is within the Democratic party itself. Ms. Pelosi trys to run her own country here. I hope she fails!!!

    November 6, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Likely future ex-patriot

    Oh thank God It's delayed.

    Now I have time to buy a plane ticket to New Zealand and get the heck off this sinking ship called America.

    Before the government totally runs this country into the ground and won't let me leave because they need the tax revenue I create.

    If you don't believe that the gov. will destroy this country. Name 1 thing that the operate well!!!

    November 6, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Rational SOLUTIONS

    If they took this 1.2 TRILLION and immediately spent it on PRIVATE SECTOR job creation we would drop back to a healthy 3 to 4% unemployment and most Americans would be able to afford their OWN health insurance. Ahhh... but there's the rub. This isn't about insuring us, it's about controlling us. Give people the ability to work and those who WANT insurance will buy insurance.

    It is NOT the role of gevernments to force people to purchase something they don't want! I can't believe you liberals... you act like this is some generous handout from the fed. The truth is, you WILL BE PAYING PREMIUMS that most of you can't afford! The government option will be almost as expensive as private plans because this legislation does NOTHING to reduce costs!!! It does the exact opposite actually. Those that don't want to work of course will get to benefit from the hard work of us taxpayers because (just as with all welfare programs) they are designed to encourage being lazy. If you work a little or a lot... you get nothing... if you stop working... you get everything for free. Shame on ANY of you who support this bogus bill!

    November 6, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The reason for the rush to vote is that Democrat leaders believe if House members have time to consider the bill, they'll find issues with it. It's 1,990 pages long. If any one who doesn't take the time to read it and "consider" it properly votes yes, they should be voted out of office. It is not their job to rubber stamp leadership's plans. They work for us.

    November 6, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Chris

    Boy these guys can't do crap right!!
    VOTE and MOVE ON!!

    November 6, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Jim


    Can't be removed from Medicare just an FYI. The government won't let you remove yourself under almost all circumstances otherwise many would do so.

    When reformation of the system is offered instead of transformation to a government run system the people will be in favor.

    November 6, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Joe

    To paraphrase T. Jefferson: 'A gov't with the power to give to you anything, also has the power to take from you everything.'

    To paraphrase B. Franklin: 'Those who seek security over freedom will end up with neither.'

    An ancient Greek philosopher wrote that all democracies contain within them the seeds of their own destruction, because, eventually, the least productive will vote for gov't to take from the more productive and give to the least productive what they couldn't earn from their own labors. This will result in civil strife and poverty, because any gov't that exalts and elevates the least productive over the more productive is bound for oblivion.

    November 6, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Against Stupid

    "I say vote on it NOW...and cram it right down the GOP's pie hole."

    Yah, that's democracy!!!MORON!!!

    November 6, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. jim

    No, Mike 1952. The failure on all points was from your boy Goerge and his puppeteer Cheney. The Republican party is what has destroyed this country. BO and company are trying to right the ship. The shame is on the remaining 25% who are to ignorant to realize the GOP is leading them down the path to destruction. I'll tell you what, since you are getting close to your golden years of retirement we will save money by taking your Social Security check and your medicare. When you get to old to hold a job anymore hopefully you will be able to survive. Unless you are already independently wealthy you will be needing those here shortly. For people like you I hope and pray that you lose it right when you need it most so you can understand what a lot of people in this country actually go through every day.

    November 6, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Pukin' for Relief

    The fear mongerers, lobbyists, and Republicans are having a field day. They want everyone to believe that its better to nothing than to start getting those in need insured and being made a part of our health care system. The words "I am my brother's keeper" doesn't seem to apply when it involves the wallet!

    November 6, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. MatthewDetroit

    The bill should be killed.

    The bill is a bad bill.
    We can not afford it.
    It will chase away most of the doctors.
    It is a socialist move by a socialist president.

    Call your dem leaders and tell them to vote no.
    Stop blaming the Republicans for blocking this. It is time to convince the Dems that are smart to say NO on this bill as well.

    November 6, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. BJ Barton

    Good for AMA and AARP- they are informed enough to know that our current health care system is a mess. Pass health care reform and have a public option.

    November 6, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Against Stupid

    "The UnAmerican tea baggers hoodlums should be jailed for their action."

    Sure, just like MoveOn who HAS threatened serious consequences to any Dem that votes against health care reform, right? You bleading-heart liberal hypocrites!

    November 6, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Independent

    All the independents I know are going to vote against anyone who votes for this public option bill as well as the cap and trade bill.

    November 6, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Jane/Seattle

    Delay=Good thing IF they cut out the profiteering of the greedy Unregulated Insurance Giants!

    Delay=Bad IF they negotiate our options out of this bill and work to help their corporate partners continue to reap revenues from We The Poorest Of the U.S. poor!

    UNIVERSAL Healthcare NOW – Not Later! Get this right like Denmark and others who have it much better than we struggling "Shocked" Americans! Peace

    November 6, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    If they really want to help show us!
    Cap malpractice awards.
    Reform Tort law
    Make it illegal for insurance companies AND UNIONS to contribute to politicians

    November 6, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. sensible Cape Coral FL

    How much profit will the Insurance Companies make by this delay?
    The longer the better for them.

    November 6, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. diridi

    nation needs this health care not delay....please...pass with public option...democrats...just stay together...and pass...delay defeats law school...I learned...this maxim....

    November 6, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Barbara Indpendent in NY

    We need this bill passed. Out of control medical costs have caused many small business to close, layoff employees or do away with coverage. Republicans, Blue Dogs and Liberman won't vote for this because they've been bought and paid for by the Insurance Cartel.

    November 6, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. chris

    I'm AMAZED that people that are on Medicare oppose such an option for other citizens. Greedy!

    November 6, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11