Pelosi: Confident House will pass health care bill
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday she’s confident the House will pass health care legislation and dismissed Republican criticism that she did not have enough votes for the measure.
“We’re very excited about where we are and will not be deterred by estimates that have no basis in fact,” she said during a dedication of the renamed Lim P. Lee Post Office in San Francisco. The post office was renamed after the nation’s first Chinese-American postmaster.
Pelosi declined to say when House members would vote on a health care bill, or how many votes that she had secured. Although she added that lawmakers were “on the verge of making history.”
She also dismissed criticism by House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio that she did not have sufficient votes.
“I’m never dependent on Congressman Boehner’s count. I never have,” she said to a smattering of laughter from the crowd.
House Democratic leaders are pressing for a vote on their bill as early as this coming week.
The legislation would provide health care to tens of millions who currently lack it. It would require almost everyone to obtain coverage and subsidize the cost of premiums for poor and middle-income Americans.
It would also ban insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
The health care bill appeared to be on the verge of passing in early January before Democrats lost a special election in Massachusetts to fill the seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy and with it, their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
In the weeks since, the White House and Democrats have embarked on a rescue strategy that would require the House to pass legislation that cleared the Senate in December before both houses approve a second bill that makes changes to the first.
But some anti-abortion Democrats in the House have balked at the bill, and it’s not clear they will vote for final passage. The bill needs 216 votes to clear the House.