Posts Tagged - ‘nancy pelosi’

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Democrats’ Health Insurance Reform Boost Evaporates

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

(Image: freewheelinbiker under CC 3.0)

Initial polls after last week’s historic passage of health insurance reform indicated that Democrats who favored it were seeing a bounce in popularity. While the bill’s content and process are extremely controversial, the fact that the majority party finally managed to get something done in Congress was a positive sign for many.

However, it looks like that boost was temporary. Prominent figures in the debate, such as President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have had their approval ratings remain steady. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s popularity ratings actually declined over the past week.

The good news for Democrats, according to the Washington News poll? Their popularity hasn’t decreased, either. In fact, they have shored up support among liberals in their own party. Those leery of the bill due to its potential impact on their health insurance plans and the national deficit probably weren’t supporting them, anyway. The fact that the legislation is now the law of the land (at least for now) doesn’t change that.

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Democrats Want Healthcare Reform Vote By Sunday

Friday, March 19th, 2010

(Image: Theresa Thompson under CC 3.0)

After many delays, the House of Representatives’ fight over healthcare reform is inching closer to its end. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is striving to secure the required 216 votes by the scheduled Sunday vote. President Obama has decided to further postpone his Asian trip until June, in order to further shepherd the legislation. Both he and Pelosi are personally meeting with Democrats who either voted in favor before and may oppose it now, or initial opponents that may be open for convincing. They are also seeking a letter from Senate Democrats ensuring that the House’s changes to further improve access to affordable health insurance will be enacted after the reconciliation process.

While Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says that Democrats do not yet have enough support to pass the health insurance reform bill, the party is becoming increasingly optimistic. After liberal Representative Dennis Kucinich agreed to support it (despite the Senate’s bill being less far-reaching than he desired–Kucinich wanted a public option, if not a completely single-payer system), several wavering moderates have also changed their minds. Reps. Betsy Markey and Bart Gordon opposed the original House bill last November, but believe that the current proposal does more to control costs and decrease the budget deficit.

According to them, the momentum makes this weekend the perfect moment for the vote. It remains to be seen if their gamble will succeed.

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Rep. Eric Massa: Forced Out Over Health Insurance Vote?

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

(Image: Neeta Lind under CC 3.0)

Democratic Representative Eric Massa voted against the House’s initial healthcare reform bill, and would most likely oppose budget reconciliation to get it passed. That puts the New York politician in a minority, albeit a significant one, among his party. However, he stands alone in other ways.

There is no doubt that President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are pressuring representatives to act now, and attempting to convince those who opposed the legislation the first time to get on board. Massa, who represents a district in New York State, claims that the Obama administration (especially Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel) is forcing him to retire due to his “no” vote on reforming health insurance plans. Unlike most of those against it, he actually opposed it from the liberal side for being too limited to be effective.

His early resignation probably has more to do with the recent accusations of sexual harassment towards male staffers. According to Massa, those charges are a setup intended to clear the passage of the bill with one less vote. He plans to continue spreading the word in the media. Meanwhile, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claims that he’s full of it. The saddest thing is that Massa’s admittedly hilarious stories–true or not–involving locker room confrontations with Emanuel will overshadow the plight of those without affordable health insurance.

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Pelosi Wants House To Finish Healthcare Reform ASAP

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

(Image: donkeyhotey under CC 3.0)

It’s down to the wire on health insurance reform: President Obama has set what he hopes is the final deadline for having a bill on his desk, Easter. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has pledged that her chamber of Congress will be done with its debate next week.

Pelosi is pushing for the House of Representatives to agree to the budget reconciliation workaround, which will allow the Senate to finalize passage with only 51 votes. She would like to have them pass the Senate’s existing healthcare reform bill by March 17th. The extra time prior to Capitol Hill’s spring break vacation is required in order to put together the budget- and tax-related provisions and modifications that can be passed separately in the Senate.

The package of changes is meant to appeal to leery House liberals, who believe that the more staid Senate bill doesn’t go far enough to make health insurance plans more affordable for Americans.

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Pelosi: House Not Voting For Senate Health Insurance Bill

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

A potential option for Democrats looking to pass healthcare reform despite losing their 60-vote super-majority is for the House of Representatives to accept the bill passed by the Senate in December, with no modifications. Some party members have proposed this as a solution to the health insurance crisis, with some promising to schedule a package of future improvements and amendments as soon as possible.

However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has shut down that avenue almost entirely. Although she is committed to passing reform this year, she claims that she is not in a rush to pass an imperfect bill she simply lacks the votes for. Pelosi is a supporter of the government-run health insurance public option. When the chances of such a plan being passed disappeared, she and other House liberals negotiated for more comprehensive reform. In her eyes, the Senate’s bill doesn’t go far enough in providing universal health insurance coverage.

What makes the Democratic caucus in the House especially opposed to the current Senate legislation? The embarrassing “Cornhusker compromise”, which secured Nebraska Senator Bill Nelson’s vote in exchange for excluding his state from having to pay for its Medicaid program, is the most prominent example of their objections. They also believe the amount of individual health insurance federal subsidies–which would be given to those falling under a certain income level, in order for them to buy a health insurance plan–is too small, and that a tax on “Cadillac” high-cost health plans will alienate unions.

(Image: Speaker of the House website)

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