House Democratic leaders said Saturday they believe they have the votes to proceed with their healthcare legislation.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) confirmed that Democrats will hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and a series of fixes to it under the budget reconciliation rules.
When asked if he believed Democrats had the votes to pursue such a strategy, Hoyer said he believed they did.
"Well, the whip is here," Hoyer said in remarks at the Capitol, referring to House Majority Whip James Clybyurn (D-S.C.), next to whom he was standing. "Clearly, we believe we have the votes."
Hoyer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), after consulting with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, decided to abandon the "deem and pass" strategy that House Democrats had been eyeing all week.
That strategy, which had drawn Republican protests, would have had the House vote on a rule that made a series of fixes to the Senate healthcare bill while also deeming the Senate bill to have passed the House.
The procedure appeared to lose Democrats several votes, though, and leaders quickly pivoted Saturday back to a strategy that would see two separate votes.
Hoyer said the House, when it meets Sunday afternoon, would vote on a rule, followed by two hours of debate on the reconciliation bill. After passing the reconciliation bill, Democrats will move to pass the Senate's healthcare bill.
"We expect to have the votes to pass the Senate bill, and it will then go to the president, and the reconciliation bill will go to the Senate," the majority leader said. "We have every reason to believe the Senate will pass that reconciliation bill."