In the face of widespread suspicion that health care reform is stalled indefinitely, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters this afternoon that Democrats will succeed in passing the party’s top domestic priority, adding that “we are very close to doing that in a comprehensive way.”
How? Well, it won’t happen by the House simply taking up the Senate bill. “Our members will not support the Senate bill,” Pelosi said. “Take that as a fact.”
Instead, she wants both the House and Senate to pass an amending bill through the budget reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes in the Senate. “Don’t even ask us to consider passing the Senate bill,” she warned, until after that amending proposal clears both chambers.
In the meantime, Pelosi said, the House will strip out several provisions of the larger reform proposal — provisions that aren’t permitted to move via reconciliation — in hopes of passing them as stand-alone bills. Next week, for example, House leaders will consider a proposal to repeal the anti-trust exemption enjoyed by health insurers for over 60 years.
“Just because we reach a bump in the road doesn’t meant that we turn back,” Pelosi said. “We will get the job done.”