Blog Post

House Speaker Gives Up on Passing Senate Version of Health Care Reform

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced today that unless the Senate version of health care reform can be substantially amended, the bill cannot pass the House, thus eliminating the White House’s last best hope for passing a bill anytime soon. “I don't think it's possible to pass the Senate bill in the House," Pelosi told reporters after a morning meeting with her caucus. "I don't see the votes for it at this time." Apparently, House Democrats are vehemently opposed to several provisions in the Senate bill such as the tax plan on expensive health-care benefits and the “sweetheart deal” won by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. "There are certain things the members simply cannot support," she said. After the announcement, aides said the next best option would be for the Senate to amend those parts of the bill under special fast-track rules that would require a simple majority rather than the now impossible 60 votes. However, the Senate has not agreed to do so. Meanwhile, the stunning defeat of Martha Coakley in this week’s special election in Massachusetts, brought by overwhelming discontent among voters with the current health care reform process, has moderates in both chambers calling for restraint and a more bipartisan approach. "I felt from the beginning that the best way to adopt anything as major as health-care reform was to do it in a bipartisan way," said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT). "You've got to listen to the message from Massachusetts, and I think it was all about, they want us to work together, they don't want us to do too much at once, and they want to feel that we're listening to them." Health care reform is only one of several major legislative initiatives that may be in danger now the Senate has lost its 60-vote majority. Two other Obama priorities, bills to change immigration laws and curtail greenhouse-gas emissions will not even make it to the Senate floor without Republican support. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®