Speaker Pelosi says Senate delay is an historic part of the 'legislative process'

Amid reports that House Democrats have grown frustrated with Senate Democrats' progress on healthcare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stressed Thursday the delay was simply part of "the legislative process."

The Speaker later repeated she had no criticism of the Senate and would not "waste time" discussing any reported tension between the chambers. She added she preferred to focus on what "we're doing to address the serious challenges the American people have."

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"The rules of the House enable a more expeditious passage of legislation; the Senate takes longer — that's what our Founders built into the system," Pelosi told reporters during a press availability on Thursday.

"The Constitution affords them a lot more time to do what they want to do. So I don't really want to waste any energy in criticizing the Senate," Pelosi added, noting that neither would she "criticize Harry Reid."

"We all have our institutional responsibilities," the Speaker added.

Pelosi's insistence that tension between the House and Senate is no more or less prevalent than usual seems to contradict what many of her members are saying.

When President Barack Obama made note Wednesday during his State of the Union address that the House had passed a jobs bill that Senate Democrats are still negotiating, the House side of the chamber erupted in applause.

Much of the frustration, however, is the obvious byproduct of the healthcare debate. The suggestion that House lawmakers merely pass the Senate's bill to speed up the process seemed to infuriate many of the lower chamber's Democrats, who wished to see their bill reach the president's desk.

Democratic leaders have not yet figured out how to proceed on that front, Pelosi said Thursday, though she did hint a series of smaller healthcare bills could be on the horizon, in addition to a "comprehensive" healthcare package.

But while Pelosi did not take clear shots at her Senate colleagues, she did take aim at Republicans, who earlier on Thursday claimed the president's State of the Union address was too partisan.

While the Speaker admitted "none of us came here to obstruct," she said she opposed the notion that Congress could not pass healthcare — or any reform — without serious GOP support.

"If we can't find a bipartisan way to do it, we're not going to say, 'It's not bipartisan, so we can't do it,' " Pelosi said.