Pelosi: Dems feel 'very strongly' about path forward for health bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats feel "very strongly" about how they will proceed on healthcare reform legislation.

Pelosi gave her first comments since the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate Thursday of the reconciliation passage of fixes, which it says costs $940 billion and will reduce the deficit by $138 billion in its first 10 years.

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"We feel very strongly about how we are going to proceed," she said at a press conference with other Democratic leaders.

The CBO numbers have been long anticipated mostly because Pelsoi has pegged them as a critical step to kick off the end stages of the legislative process for the healthcare bill.

Several other members of the Democratic leadership had reacted very positively to the to the CBO score's deficit reduction numbers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called the health bill the biggest deficit reducer since President Bill Clinton's 1993 budget and said the House would likely vote on the overhaul Sunday. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Democrats were "giddy" about the score.

"[The score] speaks very eloquently to the deficit reduction that is in our package," Pelosi said.


Republicans have slammed the CBO's score, saying that the $940 billion price tag is too high and that the numbers only reflect a preliminary estimate of the CBO's estimate, implying that the numbers could get worse for Democrats.

The Speaker said that more details about the healthcare bill, such as the full text and the CBO's final score, could be posted online as early as Thursday afternoon.

"Later today, the report will be complete from the CBO and the analysis of it and we will post it on our website," he said. 

Despite many members of their caucus who remain undecided or who have decided to vote "no" on the bill, Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) predicted that Democrats would make a strong statement with their final vote.

"The vote this week will demonstrate clearly what side Democrats are on in the United States Congress," he said.