Pelosi on Health-Care Reform: "It Will Win."
Nancy Pelosi hasn't lost many big votes. Nor has her primary lieutenant on health care, Henry Waxman. So when she says that "when I take this bill to the floor, it will win," history suggests that she's not bluffing. After all, if cap-and-trade could get a majority -- and that was a tough bill with a lot less external momentum and a lot more divisiveness within the Democratic Caucus -- health-care reform is a pretty good bet to follow.
It's easy to forget that this process is quite a bit closer to completion than health-care reform has ever been. Two committees in the House and one in the Senate have already voted out legislation. That's never happened before. But if a bill actually passes the House, that will be a gamechanger.
After all, that has never happened before. In 1994, Bill Clinton's plan didn't survive long enough to see a vote. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Harry Truman weren't any luckier. Obama is likely to not only see a vote in the House, but win it. And that gives him more than just bragging rights. It will put tremendous pressure on the Senate to follow suit.
After all, it's one thing for health-care reform to die. it's wholly another for Senate Democrats to kill it. They don't want that. In particular, Harry Reid doesn't want that. His place in the leadership -- not to mention history -- might not be able to survive that. And the few key senators who would stand in the way of reform might rethink their position in a world where blame isn't diffuse, and where the White House will know exactly who murdered their top legislative priority.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak.
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