House Democrats Meet, Weigh Reform’s Reconciliation OptionThe Wall Street Journal / Dow Jones reports on a meeting of House Democrats on the health overhaul Tuesday night. Some Democrats have suggested that the House adopt the bill passed by the Senate in December and then have the House and Senate modify that bill through a cumbersome budget process called reconciliation. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said earlier in the day that he was confident Democrats could pass a health overhaul that way. But other members are reluctant. "When asked if House Democrats could find enough votes to pass health-care legislation under a two-bill strategy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D., Calif.) said that it 'depends what the fixes are' in the second bill. ... [But] some House Democrats seem less than enthused by the prospect of the two-bill strategy. Rep. Gene Green, (D., Texas) expressed concern that the Senate would be unable to pass changes to its own bill, even under budget reconciliation. 'Watching the Senate for a year and a half, I don't know if I would depend on them passing anything that would correct what they did in the Senate bill,' Green said." Members of the conservative Democrats' Blue Dog Coalition pushed for renewed talks with Republicans on the bill (Yoest, 1/26).
Congress Daily reports that Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said after the caucus meeting that House leaders "are waiting on Senate Democrats to determine what they can pass. 'The sense they [House Democratic leaders] gave us is that Reid doesn't know from issue to issue what he can get votes for,' Weiner said. 'Generally, [Pelosi's] message was that they are still kind of negotiating around how you make the Senate bill palatable, and they put some things on the table for the senators to try to figure what they got votes for -- and they don't know what they have votes for,' said Weiner." He also told reporters that the prospect of trying to move a series of smaller health bills is still on the table but "it's very hard to take these things out" (Edney and House, 1/27). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.