Pelosi: GOP has had its day; confident Dems can pull together on health bill

Pelosi: GOP has had its day; confident Dems can pull together on health bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Republicans have left their mark on the healthcare bill and should accept that the bill will go forward.

"They've had plenty of opportunity to make their voices heard," she said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning. "Bipartisanship is a two-way street. A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes. Republicans have left their imprint."


The public option, for example, has been stripped from the bill because Republicans were so adamantly against it, she said.

"They've had a field day going out and misrepresenting what the bill says," Pelosi said. "But that's what they do."

On ABC's "This Week," just a few days after the bipartisan healthcare summit, Pelosi said, "What's the point of talking about it any longer?"

In early remarks released by ABC, Pelosi was asked by "This Week" host Elizabeth Vargas "when it does finally come to vote on it in the House, you're certain that you can muster the 217 votes that you need even with the differences over abortion language?"

"Well let me say I have this in three -- just so you know how we sequence this," Pelosi said. "First we zero in on what the policy will be. And that is what we'll be doing -- following the president's summit yesterday.

"Secondly, we'll see what the Senate can do. What is the substance? And what is the Senate prepared to do? And then we'll go to the third step as to what my -- my members will vote for. But we have a very diverse party. But we all agree that the present system is unsustainable."

When asked to grade the past year, Pelosi said, "I think I get an A for effort."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJuan Williams: Trump’s policies on race are more important than his rhetoric It’s Mitch McConnell’s Washington – and we’re just living in it Trump makes new overtures to Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) said Sunday the bill can't be refigured to address Republican concerns. Starting over, he said, is the only option.

"The American people do not want this bill," he said on CNN, also arguing that it is inappropriate to use the budget reconciliation measure to pass the bill with a simple majority vote in the Senate.

The reconciliation measure has been used 16 times since 1980 by Republicans to pass other legislation, some dealing with "lesser issues," CNN's Candy Crowley reminded him.

"Just because it's been used before for lesser issues doesn't mean it should be used for this issue," McConnell said. "Something of this magnitude shouldn't be jammed down the throat of Americans who don't want it."

Pelosi outlined the top priorities for the legislation: affordability for the middle class, accountability of insurance companies and accessibility for more people.

"When the public sees what is in this bill...when we show them what the priorities are and what it's been boiled down to, what it means to them sitting around their kitchen table rather than us sitting around a table at Blair House, the response will be positive," Pelosi said.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLive coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate Is there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Murkowski not worried about a Palin challenge MORE (R-Ariz.) said on "Meet the Press" that Americans are much better informed about the healthcare plan and reiterated the GOP platform that the process should be started from scratch.

"In order to buy votes they did these unsavory deals," McCain said. "They are unsavory."

McCain panned the claim that bipartisanship had been attempted. "I have been part of bipartisan negotiations for many years ... this was not bipartisan.

"This bill was written by Dems, for Dems," he said. "What they try to do is peel off a couple of Republicans and call it bipartisan."

Doubts have circled this week that the House does not have the votes to pass the Democrats’ healthcare overhaul.

Centrist and anti-abortion lawmakers who have doubts about the cost of the president’s proposal and its support for the Senate’s abortion provisions have indicated that they are still not on board with the plan.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who attached an amendment to the House bill with strict prohibitions against federal funding for abortions, said this week that there are 15-20 lawmakers who are not on board with the current plan.

House Republicans maintain that Pelosi still does not have the votes for the bill. House Minority Whip Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorFormer TV journalist gives GOP rare dose of hope in Florida Dave Brat trailing in reelection bid Fake political signs target Democrat in Virginia MORE (R-Va.) produced a whip count this week that predicts that up to 12 members will switch their votes over the abortion provisions.

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) accused Cantor of “playing games” this week but did not say whether or not the House had the votes. He previously predicted that the House would pass it with a wider margin than the original bill.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE (R-Wis.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that Pelosi does not have the votes but that "I wouldn't count her out because she is very good at muscling out votes.”

This story was updated at 10:45 a.m.

Bridget Johnson contributed to this report