Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appears to be undaunted by the special election in Massachusetts.
Speaking to reporters on Monday she suggested that even if Republican Scott Brown becomes a Senator from Massachusetts, it “doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill.”
Instead, it would simply be “a question about how we would proceed,” she explained, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
“I heard the Republican candidate in Massachusetts say, ‘Let’s go back to the drawing board,'” Pelodi continued. “The drawing board, for the Republican party, on health care, is to tear it up, throw it away and shred it and never revisit it. This is the opportunity of a generation. If this opportunity is not realized, there won’t be health care for every American. There’s no back to the drawing board.”
Other House Democrats have suggested that budget reconciliation may be used to pass most of the bill, which may later be revisited with legislation to add to the patchwork of reforms.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said during a Saturday Bloomberg television appearance that House Democrats had “prepared for the process of using reconciliation” even before the Massachusetts Senate seat was in question. He called it “an option.”
The White House is also considering a push to have the House vote in favor of the Senate bill, which would bypass the need for another Senate vote, thereby cutting Brown out of the process should he defeat Coakley.
Democrats may also try to lash together a compromise bill and pass it before the victor in Massachusetts is seated in the Senate, though this path may prove most difficult. “Ultimately, rushing a bill through Congress could prove politically damaging to Democrats, giving Republicans the opportunity to accuse them of ignoring the will of voters,” writes Lea Winerman at PBS.
As for the White House’s plans, “press secretary Robert Gibbs was noncommittal about this so-called Plan B in his comments to reporters aboard Air Force One Sunday night,” Politico noted.
“We’re focused on two things: ironing out the differences in the bills, which you know the President has spent a lot of time working on over the past few days; and we think Martha Coakley is going to win this race,” Gibbs reportedly said.
“Let’s remove all doubt, we will have health care — one way or another,” Pelosi told the Chronicle.
This video was published to the Web by The San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 18, 2010.