Pelosi: Obama Committed To Unpopular Excise Tax

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just returned to the Capitol from a health care meeting at the White House. Walking toward her office, I asked her whether the Senate bill’s “Cadillac tax” on high-end health care plans, which both the Senate and White House are pushing, would be a hard sell in the House.

“It’s not a very popular initiative in the House or in the public,” she said. “It’s something the President is committed to, and we’ll see how it works out.”

In case that’s not clear, Mr. President.

Pelosi has long-held reservations about the policy, and has even gone as far as ribbing the President for reneging on a commitment not to raise taxes on middle class Americans by supporting it. That said, she’s still optimistic that identical reform package will pass the House and Senate.“We’re very confident that we’ll be able to reconcile our legislation, which will meet our Triple-A test”–affordability, accountability, and accessibility.

“We’ve had, as you know, leadership meetings each day,” she said. “Tomorrow we’ll have a caucus. And in the meantime our staffs are working with the…Senate and the administration. They did that right after our meeting today. They’ll continue to be meeting to reconcile the language.”

For their part, the White House offered no details about the meeting. “The President, Speaker Pelosi, and the committee chairs held a constructive meeting in the Roosevelt Room. They discussed issues of interest to the Speaker and Chairmen, and they committed to continue working through the remaining differences between the bills. All of the participants agreed that they will continue moving forward to enact health insurance reform legislation as soon as possible.”

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