Pelosi says House has votes for healthcare if vote were held today

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested Tuesday evening that Democrats would have the votes to pass healthcare legislation if it were taken up today.

Pelosi, in an interview with Bloomberg and PBS host Charlie Rose, hinted that she could pass Democrats' healthcare plans through the House if they were brought up this week.

"Yes," Pelosi said when asked if she believed the House would end up having the votes to approve healthcare.

"If we took it up today, yes," the Speaker quickly added.

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Pelosi still cautioned, though, that the timing and actual vote count on the bill couldn't be entirely set in stone until the final legislative language was finalized and until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) delivers its score of the bill's impact.

Pelosi's words come as Democrats move toward acting on the long-stalled health reform efforts. The White House had set a March 18 deadline by which they had hoped to see the House pass the healthcare bill approved by the Senate in December, setting in motion an endgame on healthcare.

The Speaker said she wouldn't start worrying about timing until the CBO released its estimates of the reform plan's costs.

"My clock doesn't start ticking until the CBO numbers come," she said.

One of Pelosi's key confidants, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), suggested Wednesday those numbers could come as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.


Miller also hedged on the question of whether Democrats would have the votes to pass the bill.

"I think we can see the votes from here," Miller said during an appearance Wednesday morning on CNBC. "As the Speaker says, we'll have the votes when we take up the bill."

Pelosi had previously been obstinate in saying she did not have the votes for the Senate's healthcare bill in the House until an agreement could be struck to make changes to the Senate's healthcare bill.