Pelosi says she lacks the votes

PELOSI SAYS SHE LACKS THE VOTES…. I like to think that the House Democratic caucus is made up of some reasonably intelligent, self-interested, logical people. It’s why I’m simply astounded their judgment could be this bad.

The House lacks the votes to pass the Senate’s healthcare bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

Pelosi threw cold water on the idea that the House could muster enough support to pass the Senate’s health bill, which includes a number of provisions liberals in the House find distasteful.

“I don’t see the votes for it at this time,” Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference. “The members have been very clear.”

Pelosi added that the caucus realizes that “we have to get a bill passed,” but didn’t say when, how, or what a bill might look like. She only knows that the Senate bill, which is just sitting there, ready to be approved, lacks the votes.

This really is crazy. The finish line is right there. Here’s Jonathan Cohn again from yesterday:

For all of the panic in Democratic ranks right now, the reality of the situation is stunningly simple. In the span of twenty-four hours, the House of Representatives — the House in which Democrats command a huge majority, in which liberals actually have some sway, and in which leadership actually has power — could put health care reform on the president’s desk for signing.

One lousy vote. One lousy, stinking roll call vote. That’s the only hurdle in the way of health care reform.

Are Democrats really willing to give up now?

Now, I realize that Pelosi said she doesn’t have the votes “at this time.” Maybe they’ll come together later? Maybe House members are waiting for some assurances about reconciliation? Maybe the House has some kind of bizarre expectation that the Senate will make its bill better? I don’t know; Pelosi didn’t say.

I do know that the House has already passed one reform bill. It just needs one more vote — the debate would be done; the bill would be law; the landmark breakthrough would be complete; Dems would have demonstrated their ability to deliver; and policymakers could finally move on to other issues.

Allowing this to fail now is insane.

Pass. The. Damn. Bill.