Democratic Leaders Must Wrangle Factions To Pass Overhaul
Roll Call: Democratic congressional leaders are worrying about "the amount of mischief" that could stem from liberals in their own caucus on the health bill: "some [Senate] supporters of creating a public insurance option are privately worried that they will be asked to vote against the idea during debate on the bill, which could occur before March 26." Democratic leaders may ask their caucus to oppose all amendments, including one to create the public plan, to avoid scuttling the legislative effort with excessive delays (Pierce and Drucker, 3/11).
Reuters: "The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives -- a persuasive arm twister and deal maker -- faces her toughest challenge yet: getting 216 votes to pass final legislation revamping the U.S. healthcare system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, is scrambling to hit that number in coming weeks and will likely have to rely solely on fellow House Democrats, who have 253 of the 431 seats. All 178 Republicans seem lined up against the effort" (Ferraro, 3/10).
Associated Press: Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who may lead other Democrats in a crucial vote against the health reform package due to abortion language concerns, has been at odds with his Democratic colleagues in the past, too. "Shortly after entering Congress in 1993, Rep. Bart Stupak withstood President Bill Clinton's charm offensive and voted against free-trade legislation - an early display of the independent streak that has put him at odds with fellow Democrats many times since" (Flesher, 3/11).
Politico: "For the second time this week, [President Barack Obama] has called out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell personally after the leader suggested Democrats who back Obama's health care proposals should fear GOP retribution in November." Obama said, "I don't know how sincere the Republican leader is about the best interests of Democrats. [But] he's been very generous with advice" (Thrush, 3/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.