The House Democratic Caucus convened this afternoon in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office (via mainly teleconference) with members discussing the fine details of pending health care legislations passed in both the House and the Senate. The meeting covered issues, raised by different members, from how Cadillac plans could hike the premiums on regular plans in their districts to the Senate’s language regarding abortion not meeting a status quo.
While the meeting remained closed to press, the Democratic Leadership and Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor struck back at charges that the health care debates and negotiations have not been open and transparent. House Democrats released the following statistics, including:
PUBLIC DISCUSSION AND DEBATE ON HEALTH REFORM:
Spent nearly 100 hours in hearings on health reform
Heard from 181 witnesses (both Democratic and Republican)
Spent 83 hours in Committee markups
Considered a total of 239 amendments (both Democratic and republican); approved 121
On The House floor, the full House:
Spent 9 hours debating the legislation in a bipartisan fashion, including allowing the minority a substitute bill to be offered, debated and voted on. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE).
C-SPAN, however, is saying the White House only gave the network access to one hour of coverage on the health care issue, and Rep. Pelosi already said, “There are a number of things that he swore on the campaign trail,” when asked about President Obama’s campaign promise to open up health care negotiations to CSPAN cameras.
No decision has been made on whether or not conference committee meetings will happen. However, Speaker Pelosi is said to have made it clear to her members that the White House was not going to force the House to just take up the Senate bill. Meetings on the health care issue will continue throughout the weekend.