House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) insisted at a presser this afternoon “The only reason to oppose the bill is that you do not support health care reform, and we are taking a vote, and I am anticipating the support of those who support health care reform. I will not be deterred by misrepresentations.” She said this after the Washington Times told her that ranking member of the House Rules Committee Rep. David Dreier (R - CA) told press earlier:
“Its very painful and troubling to see the gymnastics through which they are going to avoid accountability and I hope very much that at the end of the day that if we are going to have a vote, we will have a clean up or down vote that will allow the American people to see who is supporting this Senate bill and who is not supporting this Senate bill.”
However, Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post is reporting Ms. Pelosi, in fact, is seriously considering not allowing her members to vote on the Senate bill. Mr Grim writes:
“The Speaker, in a press briefing with progressive media in her Capitol office, said that three options were under consideration. One of them involved a vote on the Senate health care bill, followed by a vote on a reconciliation package. “Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill,” she said. She wouldn’t rule out that option, she said, because there is no official bill language yet, which she said she needs first before she makes a decision on process.”
The Washington Post further reported, Rep. Pelosi explained at the same meeting, “It’s more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know.” “But I like it,” she said, “because people don’t have to vote on the Senate bill.”
The idea of Democrats admitting this has become a sensitive subject. The Politico reported on Friday that Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D - MD), assistant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sent a memo out emphasizing to Democratic staffers and members “not to get into process arguments.”
When the Washington Times asked Senator Ben Nelson (D - NE) about House members not voting on the Senate health care bill but a procedural motion instead, Mr. Nelson recoiled and disavowed any such a statement as purely “partisan,” because it is coming from a Republican office holder, like Mr. Dreier.
However, Ms. Pelosi may have already let the cat out of the bag.