By Jared Allen - 03/16/10 09:05 PM EDT
Pelosi said the GOP should be complaining about the tactics of private insurance companies.
“If you want to talk about process, let’s talk about the process that the insurance companies use when they say to you, ‘When you become sick, your insurance is cancelled.’ When they say to you ‘You’re on your way to an operation, but your insurance is rescinded because we just feel like it, and we can do it so we will.’” Pelosi said at a press conference. “Or what they say when they say to somebody, ‘You have a preexisting condition and so you cannot have health insurance.’
“Let’s talk about that process,” the Speaker continued. “If you want to have some outrage about process, let’s apply it to the insurance companies.”
Under the process, the House Rules Committee would craft a rule that deems the Senate bill passed when the House brings a package of changes to that legislation to the floor.
The rule would allow Democrats to avoid having to take a roll call vote on the Senate bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said the public is only focused on the main result.
House Republicans call it the “Slaughter Solution” after Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), and they’ve seized on it as an admission from the majority that they do not have the votes to pass the Senate bill through the House.
They’ve also criticized Democrats for trying to duck a tough vote on a bill they don’t like.
“Everyone from the DNC’s own pollster to any child who has seen ‘I’m Just a Bill’ on ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ knows that the ‘Slaughter Solution’ is an underhanded scheme to muddy the truth,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Pelosi joined Hoyer in defending the move as one employed by Republicans when they controlled the House. She said she “didn’t hear any of that ferocity” from Tuesday’s attacks during “the hundreds of times the Republicans used these methods when they were in power.”
Democrats have noted that Republicans frequently used self-executing rules after they regained control of the House in 1995.
The Speaker reiterated Tuesday that “deem and pass” remains an option under review, but stressed that no decisions have been made.
“We have several options available to us, and that we’ve asked the parliamentarian of the Rules Committee to tell us what they are,” she said. “I’ve told members that until we see the substance from the CBO we won’t make a determination about how we go forward. But we want to know what our options are.”
Democrats are still waiting for the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to score their reconciliation package.
Pelosi has said she can’t decide on procedure, schedule a vote or even complete her whipping until that CBO score arrives.
“As I’ve said over and over, my clock starts ticking on this when we get the report back from the CBO,” she said. “I think it will be pretty soon, and then we can give the notice that we had promised, that we have sufficient time for everyone to be able to read the bill, review the bill for the public, see what it is, and then to take a vote.”
In terms of her own vote count, Pelosi said she thinks Democrats are in “pretty good shape,” but affirmed that many members will continue to be non-committal until they have legislation in hand.
“People really have to see the numbers,” she said.