Pelosi, Emanuel, Clyburn Among Those Dems Who Played Pivotal Role In House Health Overhaul Passage
The Hill: "Nancy Pelosi showed Sunday why she is one of the most powerful Speakers in history.
In shepherding one of the most controversial bills through the House, Pelosi achieved what some thought what was impossible after Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts two months ago. ... Republicans scoff at the notion that passing healthcare reform is a win for Pelosi and the Democratic Party, pointing to Brown's win and the looming election when many Democrats are expected to lose Still, Republicans privately admit they underestimated Pelosi when she took the gavel in January, 2007." As for how the win will play to her future, "Pelosi has long said climate change is her flagship issue, but it is unclear whether that measure will pass while she is Speaker. It is clear, however, that her legacy as Speaker will be forever tied to healthcare reform" (Cusack, 3/21).
In a separate story, Politico reports on Pelosi's role in passing the health care reform bill. The story points out that when she ran for House Democratic whip, she said "she was going to lead from the front - and if colleagues didn't want that style of leadership, they shouldn't vote for her." But, now the question turns to how the legislation will affect the house majority in November. "Pelosi has faced questions from reporters in public, and from her advisers in private, over whether the end of the four-year Democratic majority is imminent. But she refused to back away from the goal of expanded health care coverage and stared down those advocating a more incremental approach" (Bresnahan, Rogers, 3/22).
CBS: Katie Couric interviewed President Barack Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel Sunday on "60 Minutes" about his role in health care reform: "'If you had your druthers, would you have said, 'Let's take smaller bites that, that are more palatable to the American people?' Couric asked Emanuel. 'My druthers is whatever the president wants,' the chief of staff replied." Emanuel said that once certain components of the legislation are enacted, like banning pre-existing conditions as discriminatory, insuring more people and closing the Medicare "doughnut hole," opposition to the overhaul would change. "Yes. I absolutely believe that. Because people will see the immediate benefit. Right now, it's kind of out there. It's not touching their lives" (Couric, 3/21).
McClatchy: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is also receiving credit for the passage of the bill. "'I don't know how people felt when they passed Social Security or Medicare, or when the civil rights laws of the 1960s were passed, but I do believe that what we are doing with this legislation is establishing health care as a fundamental right in this country,' Clyburn said. Clyburn said his close friendship with Stupak helped the two men hammer out their differences over abortion" (Rosen, 3/21).
Politico: Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle is being credited with facilitating talks between the White House and Rep. Bart Stupak that helped craft a compromise allowing Stupak and other lawmakers opposed to abortion to vote "yes" for the health care bill. "Doyle urged Stupak to write his own version of an executive order that would bridge the abortion divide by reinforcing a ban on the use of federal funds for abortion a plan that was circulating at the highest levels of the West Wing earlier this week After a late-night round of negotiations on Saturday night, Democratic leaders began to feel confident that Stupak and his small but critical set of allies could be swayed to vote for the health care bill" (Allen, 3/22).
The New York Times: Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., marking the 45th anniversary of a famed civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, "joined hands with fellow House Democrats and marched past jeering protesters into the Capitol to remake the nation's health care system." Protestors outside the Capitol "vented their opposition with chants of 'Kill the bill,' booing Democrats and cheering Republicans as they ran the gantlet of protesters on their way to the floor to vote throughout the day. ... Mr. Lewis said he was not intimidated as he walked to the Capitol with his colleagues, including [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi. In 1965, Mr. Lewis was bloodied and beaten by the police as he marched for civil rights" (Hulse, 3/21).
Roll Call: "Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) resigned from his Congressional seat less than an hour after he voted 'no' on the health care reform bill, according to the House Clerk's office Deal, who is running for governor in Georgia, originally intended to resign from the seat earlier this month but stayed in order to cast a vote on the health bill" (Kucinich, 3/22).