PELOSI HINTS AT HOUSE SUPPORT FOR SENATE COMPROMISE…. Much of the week has been focused on whether health care reform can reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. But even if it does, there’s still the question of whether the latest compromise can pass House muster.
The reactions from leading reform advocates in the House were far from unanimous. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), a progressive leader on the issue, seemed thrilled. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was not.
And what of the House Speaker?
In yet another sign that the writing is on the wall for the public option, Nancy Pelosi repeatedly refused to say today that a bill without one could not pass the House, backing away from a marker she’d laid down in the past.
Asked directly at a presser about the current Senate bill lacking the public option, and her previous claims that the bill couldn’t pass the House without one, Pelosi sidestepped the question. She claimed she’d always said that it was her belief that the public option is the best way to achieve affordability and availability, and that leaders were prepared to listen to anyone with better ideas.
Pelosi has said, during the debate, that the public option was necessary to gain House approval, but suggested today that the Senate’s trade-offs sound pretty good: “[T]here certainly is a great deal of appeal about putting people 55 and older on Medicare. That’s something that people in the House have advocated for for years.”
As for whether the House would consider passing the Senate bill as-is (“ping ponging“), bypassing the conference committee and another Republican filibuster, the House Speaker said there’s “not much” chance of that happening. “[W]e would like to see a full conference,” Pelosi added.