“Given the fact that Carol Shea-Porter votes with her party an astounding 97 percent of the time, it’ll be interesting to see where she falls on government-run health care now that her Washington leadership is divided and can’t tell her what to do. Now she’s left with a divided party and an outraged New Hampshire constituency because she’s doing everything she can to avoid face-to-face town hall meetings. It looks like Shea-Porter has made one decision clear – she doesn’t want to meet with the people who elected her. Her next decision will be whether to support the Democrat Leader or liberals in Congress.” – Tory Mazzola, NRCC Spokesman
NOTE:House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Friday left the door open to moving a health reform package without a public insurance option prized by liberals. Hoyer’s remarks were in contrast to statements Thursday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who told a San Francisco audience that a public option must be included to win the votes necessary to pass in the House.
Hoyer Not Firm On Public Option
August 21, 2009
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Friday left the door open to moving a health reform package without a public insurance option prized by liberals.
Hoyer’s remarks were in contrast to statements Thursday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who told a San Francisco audience that a public option must be included to win the votes necessary to pass in the House.
Hoyer (D-Md.) emphasized his support for a public option in a teleconference call with reporters, but also said he wants to ensure Congress sends a bill to the president.
“I’m for a public option, but I’m also for passing a bill,” he said. Democrats believe the public option is necessary, he said, “be we’ll have to see.”
He added that there are many other important parts of healthcare legislation approved by three committees in the House.
President Barack Obama already has signaled he won’t insist that a public option be included in a final healthcare legislation, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Sunday opened a firestorm with the political left by saying that a public option was “not essential” to a healthcare bill.
In the Senate, it appears unlikely that a bill with a public option could win the 60 votes necessary to win procedural votes. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has said the votes in the Senate aren’t there and that pursuing a public option is a “wasted effort.”
But not including the option could provide problems for Democratic leaders in the House. Sixty members of the party’s liberal wing have signed a letter stating that they won’t support a bill that does not include a public option, and some Democrats have said that underestimates opposition from the left.
“There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,” Pelosi said during a press conference Thursday in San Francisco, according to Bloomberg News. Liberals say including a public option is the best way to introduce increase competition in the insurance sector and force private companies to lower their costs. Opponents argue a public option could drive private insurance companies out of business and lead to runaway costs.