For all the happy talk, it looks like yesterday’s health care summit didn’t entirely end disagreements between House and Senate Democrats over how to finish up health care reform.
“It’s up to them,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her weekly press conference today, referring to the Senate.
Pelosi wants the answer to a few questions before she can proceed. “One, what is the substance. Secondly, what is the Senate able to do with a simple majority. And then we will act on that,” she said.On substance, Pelosi needs the Senate’s affordability provisions strengthened. She wants the final legislation to close the prescription-drug donut-hole for seniors, to be stripped of the Nebraska Medicaid deal, and for the tax structure of the bill to be moved away from the controversial excise tax.
However, the House can’t act, she noted, until “we see what the Senate will be able to do.”
Now, Pelosi stopped short of saying–as she’s said in the past–that these changes must be made before the House passes the Senate bill. And, in a surprising statement to reporters today, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said it would “help a lot” if the Senate simply wrote a letter–signed by a majority of members–pledging to make the fixes.
So perhaps there’s been a small amount of movement in the direction of a solution. But Pelosi’s not taking any steps until the Senate clears up a few, extremely important points