ABC News' John R. Parkinson reports: “Oh what a night!” Speaker Nancy Pelosi proudly proclaimed at a press conference immediately following passage of the health care bill.
Amid much back-slapping, congratulatory handshakes and laughter, Speaker Pelosi revealed she and other leaders had just finished a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama, and she was quick to return the praise.
“I thank him for his leadership because of the White House this wouldn’t have been possible,” Pelosi said. “He gave us the momentum to get this done and we’re very proud of our success.”
The vote passed 220-215 with 39 Democrats voting against the bill, and one Republican supporting the sweeping plan. Asked by ABC News how Democrats were able to secure a Republican vote and whether that equates to bipartisan support, the Speaker was blunt: “The Democrats voted for the bill and a Republican voted a bill; that equals bipartisan,” Pelosi said. “But we are very proud to take responsibility and credit for this great victory because it was obviously largely with Democratic votes.”
“It’s not about us or questions of who did what, it’s about the American people, as they sit around the kitchen table trying to figure out what happens if they lose their insurance or jobs, that that worry is over for them,” Pelosi said.
Other Democrat leaders called Speaker Pelosi one of the greatest House Speakers in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The victory we experienced was a team effort,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said. “But there’s only one team leader I want to single out and that is Leader Pelosi. When the President spoke to our caucus he said that she would emerge as one of the all-time greatest Speakers of the House. She is already at that point.”
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called today’s vote a victory for the American people, saying the vote was more about them than members of Congress.
“This was about people not party,” Hoyer said. “This was about making sure every American has access to quality, affordable healthcare.”