Pelosi v. Hoyer On The Public Option

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Aug 21, 2009 4:16pm

My ABC News colleague Teddy Davis reports: One day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw down the gauntlet on health-care reform, saying in San Francisco that a bill won't get out of the House without a public option, Steny Hoyer, the more moderate House Democratic Leader, took a more conciliatory approach, signaling that House Democrats may ultimately have to compromise on the issue to get a bill onto President Obama's desk. 

“I’m for a public option but I’m also for passing a bill,” Hoyer told reporters on a Friday conference call. “We believe the public option is a necessary, useful and very important aspect of this, but we’ll have to see because there are many other important aspects of the bill as well.”

When asked about the seeming discrepancy between the top two House Democrats, Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg told ABC News that Hoyer agrees with Pelosi that there is strong support for a public option in the House.

Lundberg added, however, that he is trying to "take the long view" on how the House can ultimately reconcile its position with that of the Senate where support for a public option is not as strong and where the vote hurdle is higher due to Senate rules that ordinarily require 60 votes.

Hoyer made his remarks on a Friday conference call with reporters which was set up by his office so that he could discuss what health-care reform would mean for small businesses.

We'll have more of this debate on the roundtable Sunday with Krugman, Reich, Will and Frum. See you then!

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