Leading Blue Dog Democrat: Pelosi Does Not Have the Votes for Health Care Reform

By Lindsey Ellerson

Jul 22, 2009 6:23pm

ABC News’ Jake Tapper and Z. Byron Wolf report:


How is health care reform progressing on Capitol Hill?


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today insisted everything is smooth sailing with the House bill that would require every American to have health insurance or pay a fine; create a government run health plan to compete with private insurers to drive costs down; and impose an up to 5.4% new tax on top wage-earners.


“I have no question that we have the votes on the floor of the House to pass this legislation,” Pelosi told reporters. 


But a leading conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat told ABC News that claim is questionable.


“No, I don’t think they have the votes,” Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said, arguing if that were the case he and the other six Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who have been holding up the bill in committee would be under far less pressure.


Ross says the concerns Blue Dogs have about the current House bill being too expensive and not doing enough to contain health care costs are widespread.


“We’re speaking for a silent majority within the Democratic caucus,” he said. “The American people want us to slow down and they want us to get it right.” 


And what about on the Senate side?


Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was overheard jokingly telling House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, “let me tell you, praying might be helpful here.”


 -Jake Tapper and Z. Byron Wolf



 

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