THE TREATMENT JANUARY 27, 2010
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she can get the votes to pass health care reform--if the Senate first passes certain amendments through the budget reconciliation process. With reconciliation, Pelosi said, "it's a whole different ball game ... We'll be able to come up with something that sufficiently addresses the concerns of the House members."
To be clear, amending the Senate bill via the reconciliation process the House likes is no small matter. It depends on working through all of the procedural hurdles and, of course, getting at least fifty senators to go along.
But this is the first time the Speaker herself has declared she has the votes, so that's another encouraging sign about the prospects for health care reform. And Pelosi, at least, seems determined not to give up:
You can always find a way. You can always find a way. ... We have to get this done for the American people—one way or the other. ... We need to get this done. Process I don't care about. But we need to get this done.
By the way, there's been a lot of confusion out there about what Pelosi did and didn't say today. I'm basing my summary on the accounts of the National Journal's Ron Brownstein and Time's Karen Tumulty, who attended the same briefing and who know health care policy as well as any reporters on the beat.