February 28th, 2010
09:03 AM ET
11 years ago

Pelosi: Health care bill can be bipartisan even without GOP votes

Washington (CNN) - The top House Democrat appears to be signaling that her party has all but given up any hope of achieving meaningful bipartisan support for a health care reform bill.

“Bipartisanship is a two-way street,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declares in an interview airing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“But let me say this,” Pelosi continues, “The bill can be bipartisan, even though the votes might not be bipartisan, because they [Republicans] have made their imprint on this.”

Pelosi pointed to the fact that the final bill will, in all likelihood, not include a government-run public health insurance option, a provision vigorously opposed by congressional Republicans but supported by liberal House Democrats. Instead, Pelosi tells CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Democrats have settled on insurance exchanges as a way to help contain health care costs. That compromise position, Pelosi suggested, reflects an acknowledgement of Republicans’ approach to health care reform.

Reflecting a key provision of the Senate bill passed late last year, the legislative outline released by the White House last week does not include a public option. Asked about the White House’s decision to forego a provision popular with many liberals in the Democratic Party, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the administration made that decision because it did not appear that there would be sufficient votes to get the public option passed in Congress. Although some liberal Democrats in both chambers favor a public option, a substantial block of conservative Democrats in the House, known as the Blue Dogs, do not support it.

In the interview, Pelosi is also quick to suggest that President Obama and congressional Democrats have gone to great lengths to give Republicans an opportunity to weigh in on health care reform notwithstanding fundamental ideological differences between the two parties.

“We went into the legislative process - hundreds of hours of hearings and bill writing and all the rest - where the Republicans made their suggestions,” Pelosi tells Crowley. “We know that one of the reasons we didn’t have a bill in the fall is because the president wanted to give the Senate more time to arrive at bipartisanship in the Senate bill, which he thought might be possible then.”

Pelosi added, “And so what we’ve had is the year of trying to strive for bipartisanship, as I say over 100 Republican amendments in the bill. And the Republicans placed their own bill on the floor, here in the House, which insured 3 million. Our bill insures over 30 million. So we have a different value system here.”

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Filed under: Congress • Health care • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. MP

    I think it is odd, that the poll referred to, was already outdated. The public option, is no longer an option, and it was one of the only things in the previous bills that people were opposed to (a lot of misinformation about it) in the poll. The public is just now finding out what is really being proposed as a compromise by reading the president's compromise bill on WhiteHouse. gov that was released only two days before the summit. Therefore the poll is already outdated and inaccurate. Using a poll about previous bills to make a point, that was very misleading. When polled about the separate parts of the bills that are still in the compromise, people actually liked those parts of the bill. In addition, all the lies spread by the republicans about "takeovers" and "death-panels" is very misleading and has many confused. This bill is really just insurance reform and not really health care reform. It preserves free market competition in the exchanges, but simply requires insurance companies to provide "actual insurance" There is also subsidies to make insurance more affordable. Some people polled wanted more from the bill, some wanted less.

    February 28, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. Phillipa

    Why you people don't understand that a health care reform bill will HELP you keep medical care and SAVE MONEY, I cannot fathom.

    Are you brain dead? Are you just scared of change?

    We have needed health care reform for close to a century. But it's people like you who keep insurers lords over us, draining our money (half my paycheck goes to health insurance; I can't get a loan b/c my income is too low...I can't pay my bills because my income is too low. I am a teacher! I work my butt off).

    February 28, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. ronald sabo

    Nancy Pelosi needs to be canned . She is a OXYMORON .

    February 28, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Jimmy from Concord, NH

    She is so out of touch. The "Republican imprint" is only there because they couldn't sway the Independents and more independent-minded Democrats. It was all an attempt to corral HER party around the bill.

    This is NOT the same as demonstrating a capacity for compromise, and bully session they called a "bipartisan summit" shows that today's Democrats will continue to say two things:

    1. We want to be bipartisan, but . . .
    2. . . . the GOP is just a bunch of whiny no-good lockstep jerks who aren't worth talking to.

    They've been doing this since the American Recovery Act, before the GOP even had a chance to display bipartisanship, so they're creating a fiction and then selling it as history. And when the GOP is shut out from every major talk, and bullied and ridiculed at the two most recent summits, Democrats think that's the righteous, bipartisan way to act?

    February 28, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. ronald sabo

    It would be a different story if all the politicians had to follow this healthcare .

    Ms. Pelosi needs to be voted out .

    February 28, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Mike in MN

    Pelosi is an idiot.
    It is possible that any bill can have any given bill can have elements in it that everyone likes and supports. But the same bill can also have in it elements that many see are so bad that the good does not out weigh the bad. Those who evaluate a bill as being more bad than good vote against it.
    A bill is only bipartisan if there are significant votes from it from both parties. That is the only definition.
    Pelosi's stupid attempt to redefine what bipartisan means tells you everything you need to know about her views on working with Republicans. And it tells you how desperate the Democrats are now that it is obvious that a solid majority of voters are opposed to every major bill that the Democrats have written and passed. Written and passed without any Republicans votes. When voters look to place blame on all these bills, the Democrats are left naked, without any Republican votes to proved cover and to share the blame.
    Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats pushed the Republicans to the side and took off on their own. Now that everything they have done has been rejected by a majority of voters, they are desperatly trying to find a way to blame Republicans for what they have done to themselves.

    February 28, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Pelosi is right, it can be bipartisan, not all Democrats support healthcare reform. Republicans now must figure another way to obstruct, because Pelosi is right on.

    February 28, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. FJK

    Rebuplicans do not want this bill for one reason only. They want to kill this, because they know that when it does pass, they will be on record as opposing healthcare reform it will (and should) be used against them in Novemeber. American's will realize this is not the evil bill that insurance companies and the Republicans want American's to think it is!

    February 28, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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