Pelosi Says Obama To Propose ‘Smaller’ Health Care Bill; Durbin Defends Reconciliation
During a stop in Denver Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Barack Obama plans to propose a "health care bill that will be 'much smaller' than the House bill but 'big enough' to put the country on a 'path' toward health care reform" within days, FoxNews.com reports. According to a senior administration official, Obama plans to unveil his proposal Wednesday.
"Melody Barnes, a top Obama domestic policy adviser, did not dispute Pelosi's characterization of the new plan as smaller in scope -- and quite possibly in cost -- than either the House or Senate health care bills. Asked how White House staff is putting the new proposal together, Barnes said they are 'borrowing' from conversations at Thursday's health care summit. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated Friday that the White House would work on GOP ideas for health reform over the weekend. Barnes identified two: tort reform and allowing insurers to sell policies across state lines" (3/1).
Roll Call: In a Washington, D.C., area speech, President Obama "is expected to announce Wednesday what his next steps are for advancing health care reform through Congress." The White House Press Secretary said he will "discuss both the 'process and policy.'" The plan, which will be smaller and not in legislative language, will be posted on the same day (Bendery, 3/1).
Meanwhile, during an appearance on MSNBC today, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) "defended Democrats' plans to move forward with their healthcare bill using the budget reconciliation process, only to the objection of Republicans, who claim the 50-vote process is hyperpartisan and has never been used on legislation of this magnitude," The Hill reports. If Democrats proceed with reconciliation, Durbin explained that "the House would have to act first -- a fact which House Democratic leaders seemed to acknowledge over the weekend -- though Durbin admitted House members may have good reason for skepticism'" (O'Brien, 3/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.