Pelosi Feeling The Pressure Of Health Bill NegotiationsThe Hill reports on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's "difficult task of selling a healthcare bill heavily influenced by Senate centrists to her liberal members" and notes that she "will have the support of Obama and Senate liberals, many of whom have already started emphasizing the positive elements of the bill that passed their chamber on Christmas Eve. But the heavy lifting will fall squarely on her shoulders, as she has long been a respected liberal member who pushed for key provisions that are unlikely to be in the final product."
"On Tuesday Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders expressed confidence that the two chambers would reach a compromise. ... House leadership aides said Pelosi wants agreement among her leadership team, Senate leaders and the White House on the logistics prior to Thursday's caucus meeting, but that she intends to use Thursday as a way for rank-and-file Democrats to weigh in on the potential policy changes" (Allen and Young, 1/5).
Meanwhile, Politico reports that Pelosi responded to a reporter's question about the president's campaign statement that health care negotiations would be open to the media by saying, "'There are a number of things he was for on the campaign trail' ... People familiar with Pelosi's thinking wasted little time in explaining precisely what she meant by a 'number of things' saying it reflected weeks of simmering tension on health care between two Democratic power players who have functioned largely in lock-step during Obama's first year in office."
"Senior House Democratic leadership aides say Pelosi was pointedly referring to Obama's '08 pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class, which she interprets to include a tax on so-called 'Cadillac' health care plans that offer lavish benefit packages to many union members. The House aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pelosi has been miffed with Obama's tilt toward the Senate plan and his expectation the House will simply go along with the Senate bill out of political necessity" (O'Connor and Thrush, 1/5). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.