By Scott Hensley
With the televised (and live-blogged) bipartisan meeting on health overhaul now in President Obama's rearview mirror, there's the little matter of counting votes in Congress.
"All our members--every one of them--wants health care," Pelosi said. "I think everybody wants affordable health care for all Americans. They know that this will take courage. It took courage to pass Social Security. It took courage to pass Medicare. And many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill."
The way that would likely work is by repudiating bipartisanship and pushing ahead with legislation by "reconciliation." The House would vote on the Senate bill, presumably approving it. Then the Dems would make fixes and send a revised bill back to the Senate, which under budget reconciliation, could pass a bill by simple majority.
Republicans object to the process, saying it's inappropriate for making such a momentous change. But time and again, reconciliation has provided the legislative vehicle for new health care programs.
Then there's the question of public support, which polls show is there for specific provision of overhaul but is in short supply for the soup to nuts bill. Pelosi had her own food analogy for CNN's State of the Union, explaining that the public would come around when the health bill is fully baked:
When we have a bill, which we will in a matter of days, then that is the bill that we can sell. Our bill, the House and the Senate bill, had some major differences which we're hoping now to reconcile. And then when we have a bill -- as I say, you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie, but you have to have a pie to sell.