Hoyer: Senate Health Bill ‘Clearly Better Than Nothing’
"House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said passing the Senate healthcare bill would be 'clearly better than nothing,'" The Hill reports. Though Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts could end Democrats "filibuster-proof majority" in the Senate, Hoyer said, "moving ahead on healthcare is essential" (Allen, 1/19).
USA Today's On Politics: "Though they have declined to speculate about the outcome of today's special election in Massachusetts, Democratic leaders in Congress are clearly thinking about a Plan B to pass health care legislation..." Hoyer, during a press briefing Tuesday morning, "left open a couple of possible routes to pass a bill in coming weeks" if Republican Scott Brown wins the election and "becomes the 41st Republican vote to block the legislation." Among those possibilities would be hurrying to find "an agreement in the 15 days between Brown's election and his swearing in. Asked if he thought reaching an agreement in that time period is feasible, Hoyer said, 'Yes. It's feasible'" (Fritze, 1/19).
Politico: "But Hoyer said Tuesday it would be better to pass the Senate bill than nothing - albeit haltingly. ... Hoyer added, 'Our objective is to get agreement, not to take the Senate bill or the House bill but to come to an agreement as is normal legislative process" (Sherman, 1/19).
Also on the Hill, "Health care was at the top of the agenda Tuesday for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who scheduled meetings with her top lieutenants and the full Democratic caucus," The Associated Press writes (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.