In it, but not of it. TPM DC

House Gets Its Act Together on Health Reform While Senate Dawdles

At her weekly press conference on Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held up her end of the bargain. "I'm saying we will have a public option in the House that will be real," she said. "If it's not real, it's no use doing. And if we don't do a public option, I'm not sure that we have as effective a public health care reform as we wish."

And compared to the disarray in the Senate, the House is pretty well poised to deliver. The three committees of jurisdiction there have agreed on a single piece of legislation, including a fairly robust public option, and, of course, the House GOP can't resort to a filibuster. Assuming it passes, the opponents of the provision will have to choke it off at several points along a lengthy political chain. They'll have to win out over the HELP committee to keep it out of the finalized Senate bill; then they'll have to get it stripped out of the final bill during conference; if they fail, they'd have to filibuster the conference report (something which rarely happens); and if they were to succeed in that regard, they'd have to fight the fight all over again, with less leverage, during the budget reconciliation process in October.

All of which is to say that despite all the sturm und drang last week, we're basically right back where we started--and the public is on the reformers' side.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at