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. John D.

    Has anyone noticed that we are back up to 46 million uninsured americans. They just cannot make up their minds what number they want to put out there. I'm sure none of this number are illegal aliens. The Democrats wouldn't do that. Would they?

    November 6, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. hobart

    Let's see, some may conservative pundits, politicians, corporate sponsors and posters here say we're in economic collapse because of Obama's spending. Nope. We' were in economic collapse because of Bush's spending on the war in Iraq, which we went to under deliberately false pretenses, and on good old fashioned Republican policies on the financial sector and their ridiculous risk taking. Since Obama's supposedly wreckless spending, aka stimulus 2 (stimulus 1 being Bush's package), the markets have recovered by over 50%, the rates of job losses have been slashed, and the economy is getting back on its feet. Funny how when Republicans turn a budget surplus into a massive national debt to fund a needless and stupid war, they don't care one iota about "wreckless spending," but when Democrats spend money to make money, to clean up after the Republican mess, then suddenly Republicans cannot stomach debts and deficits.

    As to health care, every western democracy (i.e. all our allies) but us have a public option or public component to their country's health care systems, and these partial or total public health care systems are sacred cows totally endorsed by the entire breadth of the political spectrum, conservative to liberal, in those countries. Funny how conservatives want those countries as allies when is suits them (e.g. in times of war, or times of leveraging economic sanctions against Iran or N Korea), but we demonize them as hippy/commie./socialist/feminazis as soon as we point out that their health care systems are better than ours and cost less than ours, or that their students are smarter than ours.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

    November 6, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. robrubin

    Just so funny how most of the teabaggers are older Americans that are probably getting Medicare and Social Security benefits at the same time they are calling the Democrats socialists.

    It is that level of ignorance and the unwillingness to give up valuable insurance lobby cash that causes us to have the 37th best health care in the world – behind countries like Costa Rica and Morocco.

    Recently, Canada's chief health person wanted to change Canada's national health plan into privatized insurance like we have here. However, over 90% of Canadians rejected it and wanted nothing to do with American style health insurance. What does that tell you? We have tens of millions of people here that want public health insurance yet you NEVER here Canada and European countries demanding American style insurance.

    We need to vote out every Republican who has taken big $$$ from the insurance lobby – Democrats too (eh hem Max Baucus). That is the only way Congress can truly give us the reform we need.

    We are tired of watching wackjobs like Michelle Bachmann, Eric Cantor, and Dick Armey supporting pure hate and racism. They were sent to Congress to help the American people not divide them.

    The House bill LOWERS defecits and provides coverage to 96% of Americans. ONLY the uninsured would be allowed to have the public option. What is so wrong with that? How is that "the greatest threat to freedom" as John Boehner says. I will tell you, the Patriot Act signed by GW Bush was 10x more of a threat to freedom that this health care bill.

    November 6, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Richp

    Unemployment is not issue, we just need to add a third shift to the federal reserve building so they can run the printing machines 24 hours a day 7 days a week, there will be PLENTY of money to go around. Why not bring the $1000 bill back, we'll need it in a few months to buy a loaf of bread...

    November 6, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    The nation will breathe a collective sigh of relief when this 2000-page bill Reid and Pelosi are trying to force down our throats ultimately fails. Come 2010 the dems are going to HAVE to compromise because they're going to lose a significant number of seats.

    With unemployment spiking at 10.2%, they should FIRST be concerned about creating jobs, not sticking us with ill-conceived health care "reform" that ends up costing working folks hundreds of dollars a year.

    Once the economy is back on track, THEN pass health care reform which includes tort reform!

    November 6, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. D. Tree

    Republicans have no credibility on the economy.

    Their policies have failed every time.

    If you want a healthy economy, elect a Democrat.

    November 6, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war

    To all the neo-con “christian” pro-life taxpayers.

    This liberal heathen pro-life taxpayer offers this compromise.

    We will alter the tax return forms and add two check boxes, one will allow you to opt out of having your tax dollars going to killing human life via abortions, and the second check box will allow me to opt out of having my tax dollars going to killing human life via elective wars.


    November 6, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. David

    The requirement should be that all reps read the entire bill before any vote. And also adequate time for the public to read, also. The people of this country are sick of them trying to steamroll us by using threats and fear to push things through. This goes for both the GOP and Dems. The two party scammers.

    November 6, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    @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."

    I'd love to remove myself from Medicare–as long as they stop ripping me off every month to pay for a system I want no part of, and reimburse me all the money they've already ripped me off for, plus interest.

    Same for Social Security, by the way.

    November 6, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    If we as Americans don't get a grip on ourselves and stop the hate of other human beings, we will never know who our enemies are. Look around you, the World is changing and it isn't going to stop changing.

    November 6, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Brett

    Anybody can kill this bills? Make sure it never been happen!

    November 6, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. An Independent Hillary

    Nancy Pelosi looks like the unhappy spawn of Miss Joan Crawford. Just saying...

    November 6, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Eric in Denver

    To all you nuts out there especially Texas doc you all need your heads examined if you want this mess to pass. I wonder why this 1,999 page bill is not anywhere to be found! Maybe it is because they don't want anybody to see this horrific bill. There is not a single poll that shows the majority want it to pass. @ Tex doc just because most people if not all want reform doesn't mean they want this pile of %#@( If you showed the bill to 100 people I would be surprised if more than 2 people would be for it. You may want to read how the question is asked before making crazy comments like you made. When a CNN blog is highly against a dem bill that is a bad sign for the party of socialism and high taxes

    November 6, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Debby

    Why not let the people vote on it. They have elections for officials and gay marriage why not a special day to vote on just healthcare reform after we the people read whats in it. Who cares what Pelosi and Obama want they are just looking after their own political butts down the road.

    November 6, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. freddie

    Pelosi, you have said over and over that you had the votes to pass this bill, sooooooo bring it up for a vote. Why not?

    November 6, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. Barry In Las Vegas

    Pelosi, Obama and the rest of the Democrats can keep trying to blame the Republicans for not being able to get their health care bill passed, but the American People know that Pelosi doesn't have the votes from the Democrats in the House to pass the bill.

    Tuesday's voters sent a message that has many House Democrats shaking in their boots now. They let Obama walk them off the cliff on cap and trade – doesn't look like their ready to take the second plunge.

    November 6, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. howie

    I know why they can not pass the bill, it is Bush's fault, it's Bush's fault.

    November 6, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Mike Dallas

    To the “christian” cons that say their version of “family values” is the only acceptable form of family values.

    So, taken from your Holy Book of Fables, we started with the story of Adam and Eve who were to “go forth and multiply“. They had 2 sons Cain and Able. Now, given these logistics of 3 men and 1 woman, it would appear that your version of “family values” would include incest with mom! Oh, but then some of you believe that Adam and Eve had daughters as well, and therefore that explains the ability to procreate and multiply.

    So, to be clear, diddling one’s sister is a better form of incest than diddling one’s mom?

    After all it is the "word of god" right?

    Next time we will discuss that whole brother killing brother that is detailed so vividly in your Book of Fable’s version of “family values” .

    November 6, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. linda

    Illegal immigrants:

    Make it easy: if you cannot prove citizenship, refuse care –
    overturn the Supreme Court"s dumb decision that care
    cannot be refused.

    American taxpayers have been paying for illegals, and we need
    to stop. Why are we paying for their medical care (emergency
    rooms), education, food, housing, etc.

    If they are illegal they get zero and should be sent back without

    We are tired of providing hand-outs to people who are violating
    our laws.

    End this madness

    November 6, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    @ Patrick: "...throw the baby back over the fence with them"????

    Really?? Now there's a fine example of Christian concern for your fellow man. Just hope to god (and god doesn't just belong to you folks, he's ours too) you're not a parent..

    Too bad the REAL natives of this country couldn't throw your illegal immigrant family back over the sea before they were annihilated....

    November 6, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    The healthcare bill (healthcare government takeover) will NOT pass the Senate. Commandant Pelosi may get it through the House, but it is dead on arrival in the Senate.

    If it's such a great bill, why won't Pelosi let the bill be posted on the internet, like she promised, so people can review it?

    November 6, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Danny

    To those of you say it's President Obama's fault that they are unemployed and the deficit has increased, I ask two questions:

    1. Did you lose your job prior to this year? If so don't blame the guy who's held the position for 10 months but look a little further back to place blame.

    2. Which president started his administration with a balanced budget and projected surplusses for years to come only to leave office with a multi-billion dollar deficit, 2 unpopular wars, an economy in a deep recession, and a financial sector on the verge of collapse?

    Nuff said!

    November 6, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. sue

    Obama and Pelosi are denying the American people of their first right, RIGHT TO LIFE. And now we will pay for abortions, and this is a moral issue and this is now a HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. Who do hey think they are that they can tell us how to believe and we should pay for women and ENCOURAGE this whole evil MESS.

    November 6, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |

    The independents I know are already voting against any who supports this bill.

    I know 6 democratic congressman that will be out of a job next year this time.

    Support of Heath Care Reform and/or public option is the equivalent of suicide for democrats.

    November 6, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. chubby

    nobama controls 30 percent of the economy now by taking over banks and and car companies and now he wants another 17 percent of our economy. He is trying to ruin this country and the liberal panty wearing bed wetters still support him. Oh well, they are mostly unemployed and living on hand outs from the government. To lazy to work.....

    November 6, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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