Pelosi: We Don’t Have The Votes For The Senate Bill

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Is there a Plan B?

The big news today is that the Speaker has come pretty close to closing the door on the idea that the House pass the Senate version of the health care bill. Our colleague Sophia Yan was at her news conference, and reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said late this morning that she doesn’t “see the votes at this time” to plow the Senate version of the health care bill through the House. Some provisions – she named the Nebraska cornhusker kickback and the Cadillac tax – are “problematic” and “unpalatable,” Pelosi said. “In every meeting, there is nothing that would give me any thought that the bill could pass right now the way it is.”

Despite that, there is already one consensus: “We have to get a bill passed – we know that,” she said. “That is a predicate that we all subscribe to.” At this point, she aims to take a microscope to the issue. “Nothing is discarded. Everything is on the table,” she said. “We have to know what our possibilities are.”

Pelosi reminded that 60 votes in the Senate were never an “ironclad assumption,” when asked about Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, losing Senate Dems that coveted 60th vote to bypass a GOP filibuster. Members constantly had thoughts of “what if? [While] of course we would have preferred to win,” she said, “we were not without our preparation.”

Pelosi maintained, however, that President Obama’s top domestic initiative is not dead. Heath care reform is still “a very exciting initiative,” she said. “We will go forward.”