March 21st, 2010
07:29 PM ET
10 years ago

Pelosi to use historic gavel to preside over vote

(CNN) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will preside over the House health care reform vote Sunday night with a special gavel that’s already a part of congressional history.

Pelosi will use a gavel borrowed from fellow Democrat longtime Michigan Rep. John Dingell. Dingell used the gavel when he presided over the House as it passed the Medicare bill in 1965.

“A treasure in the Dingell family that was used in the enactment of the Medicare law”, Pelosi told reporters, “I will use it this evening when we cast a very successful vote for this important legislation. This has been a complete team effort, not only a team effort, a partnership with our leadership and every member of our caucus and we look forward to making this historic day known to the American people."

Dingell’s father, Rep. John Dingell, Sr., had been one of the sponsors of a national health insurance bill in the House in1943. That bill never passed, but the younger Dingell picked up the health care reform effort after he was elected to his father’s seat after the older Dingell’s death in 1955. The younger Dingell was chosen to preside over the House on the day of the 1965 Medicare vote.

The gavel Pelosi will use carries the signature of former Speaker of the House John McCormack, who gave it to Dingell after the Medicare vote. “The history is really important”, Dingell told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday after it appeared Democrats would have enough votes to pass their health care reform package.

At a Capitol Hill photo op, Pelosi also carried a different 3-foot long, five pound gavel Dingell gave her Sunday. Dingell said he jokingly told Pelosi that gavel, a gift from a Michigan group, would “bring them back” if members got out of order.

Filed under: Health care • House • John Dingell • Medicare • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    Look to me like she was planning on using huge wooden object on TEA PARTY people! If one person had taken a step closer to her she would have clobbered them. How violent our politicians have become. They get their way by bribes, threats or out and out violence.

    March 21, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Pelosi might as well use a gun, instead of a gavel, as it would be more fitting.

    March 21, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. Maybe

    Maybe she will bop her finger with it, serve her right.

    March 21, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    Oh, and here I was thinking it was the gavel that Napoleon once used to ....

    March 21, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Please

    People of CA. please take pelosi, feinstein, waxman and all the others sent to washington back and keep them there, we don't need their hare brained ideas ruining America.

    March 21, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    It's been 67 years since Dingell's father proposed a health care bill. Waiting for the "perfect" bill? If not now, when?

    March 21, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. dan

    The demoncrats will be private citizens come november!!!

    March 21, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  8. maria

    A BIG THANK YOU MRS. PELOSI, REED, MR. PRESIDENT and everyone who voted YES on this historic bill. For never giving up, for fighting for health care for ALL America! Thank you for having the vision to INVEST, INOVATE & IMPLEMENT AMERICAS HEALTHCARE And believing in America!! The rewards are just around the corner!

    March 21, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    How appropriate–Medicare represents an 89 trillion dollar unfunded liability. That's 89 trillion–trillion, with a 'T'–dollars of debt the country is going to incur for which there is no conceivable adequate revenue. Even if government demanded 100% taxation of all income above subsistence level, it wouldn't be enough.

    So Medicare alone is literally going to bankrupt this country.

    In a practical sense, the result will be that inflation will utterly, completely, destroy every bit of savings you have, China will basically own the country, and there will be another Great Depression.

    All this because slimy politicians keep buying votes with promises that will destroy the country to keep–and Americans are dumb enough to keep being bought.

    And the criminally irresponsible health care welfare bill is only going to make things much, much, worse.

    March 21, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Common Sense Guy

    Maybe she can use it to knock some common sense into her head. Sure am glad she is smarter than me about how I need to live MY life

    March 21, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. diridi

    nation needs this health care bill not play politics...GOP esply you...

    March 21, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. BeverlyNC

    How exciting and historic for the same gavel that was used to pass Medicare will now be used to pass healthcare reform for the American People.

    This vote shows clearly who stands on the side of the People and who stands for the greedy insurance companies who kill us for more profit. Republicans are corporate-lovers who have done NOTHING for the People. They have worked against us and have betrayed us for perks and money to buy their votes.

    Democrats have worked HARD all year for the People and Republicans have worked all year against you and I. They have betrayed us and are traitors to the People.

    Tonight the gavel will come down FOR the People and against the abusive insurance companies and their lying Republican buddies.

    Goodbye GOP – you have betrayed us one too many times and we will use OUR NO VOTE to end the nightmare of your presence in Congress.

    March 21, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. phoenix86

    Pelosi needs a special gavel. She will have a vote in favor of a bill that has not yet been written, supported by special tax breaks to individual lobbyist groups, backed by CBO numbers that are incomplete, paid for by borrowing from Social Security, reducing Medicare and lowering the quality of health care for all, while doing nothing but adding debt and prolonging the recession.

    Time for term limits and minimum I.Q. standards to avoid representatives like her, Reid and Obama from holding office.

    March 21, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. Paul H

    Can you say welfare state! This Government now owns us. Thank you liberal minded Americans for slowly giving the government our lively hoods.
    We will all have to have less in the years to come because cost will rise across the board. Now Government decides the kind of health care we all have.
    If you already have nothing then you'll love living in Europe. But if you work you better tighten your belts, and start saving your money.............. Oh wait the Government owns the banks, and part of the auto industry as well. Do any of you see a pattern here??????????

    March 21, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. Walt

    Friday night viewer poll on channel 27 in Tallahassee of the people for or against Obamacare. 80% against, 20% in favor. I can't believe you fools in journalism ( if that's what you call lies you broadcast) don't realize your children and love ones are going to have to live with the destruction of this once great nation that you're helping to facilitate.
    See in line at the "free' clinic.....or maybe at the soup line.

    March 21, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Joseph

    We are the people! Really? This is no longer the case under socialist OBAMA and Socialist Democratic party. We are now become the subjects who no longer have a voice and constitutional right. Obama is going to take the money right out of the pockets of over 90% of taxpayers who work hard, earn every penny for their sacrifice, and don't forget they pay for their health insurance. It has been his goal to spread their hard-earned money to achieve OBAMACARE. It won't take long for the US to degenerate into a third world country. Well, the once greatness of the America is gone. I feel sad about it.

    March 21, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. S.T. Vandergrift

    Someone needs to take that gavel and smack Pelosi on the head!

    March 21, 2010 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Denna

    Bang it loud and hard when this puppy is done! Good job Ms. Pelosi and all who are actually trying to help America. Oh, and a skunk cabbage bouquet to the Rethugs and their racists followers, whom they are "denouncing" now that they've already caused a scene. Classy, very classy.

    March 21, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |