At a press conference on Medicare today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) addressed reporters’ questions concerning the unusual procedure known as the “self-executing rule” that would “deem” the Senate version of the health care bill passed in the House sans any member voting on the actual health care legislation.
“If you don’t want to talk about substance, talk about process,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “And if you want to talk about process, let’s talk about the process the insurance companies use when they say you become sick and your insurance is cancelled.
“We have — as I said to you before — several options available to us, and that we’ve asked the Senate parliamentarian and the Rules Committee to tell us what our options are. I’ve told members that until we see the substance from the CBO, we won’t make a determination about how we go forward, but we want to know where our options are,” she said.
I asked Mrs. Pelosi about reports quoting her as saying, “Nobody wants to vote for the Senate bill,” and if this shows that members in her caucus have huge problems with the bill. Mrs. Pelosi replied, “People do what is necessary to pass a health care bill to improve quality, lower cost, and make America healthier.”
In terms of a deadline, while some are reporting that House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D–S.C.) could push the vote past Easter, Ms. Pelosi would only say (before admitting “My life is a constant whipping operation”), “My clock starts ticking on this when we get the report back from the CBO. It’s an independent agency. We’re not really allowed to say what they tell us or what is going to happen, but I’m hoping it is going to be soon.”