House Leadership Appears Less Confident of Vote Before Recess
House Democratic leaders on Monday addressed the timing of a potential floor vote on the chamber's health reform bill (HR 3200) and "sought to take their caucus's temperature after a rough week," The Hill reports (Allen/Soraghan, The Hill, 7/27).
On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, "We are on schedule to do it now, or to do it whenever," adding, "I wanted a bill before the August recess, but I have also said members need time to get a bill and to see it."
Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) have promised to provide House members a full 48 hours to review the final bill before they vote on it (Epstein/Armstrong, CQ Politics, 7/28).
Pelosi also said, "A lot depends on when the [House] Energy and Commerce Committee finishes its work," adding, "Then we can make a decision on when we can take it to the floor" (Allen/Soraghan, The Hill, 7/27).
Meanwhile, Hoyer on Monday night told reporters that it "clearly will not be possible at this time" for the House to conduct a floor vote on the reform bill by Friday. According to The Hill, Hoyer cited procedural hurdles and the pledge to allow members enough time to review the bill (Soraghan, The Hill, 7/27).
Previously, Hoyer suggested that the House could stay in session for a few days beyond Friday. However, in an appearance earlier Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room," Hoyer said, "I doubt that that's going to be the case."
He did say that if Democrats are sure they have enough votes to pass the bill, the chamber could remain in session for a few days after Friday (CQ Politics, 7/28).
Hoyer said House leaders still would be happy if all the committees completed their work on the bill, adding, "I'm willing to stay in session for as long as it takes, if I believe that staying in session is the key."
Hoyer also noted that the Energy and Commerce Committee's bill would still need to be merged with the two bills that already have passed the Ways and Means and Education and Labor committees (Allen/Soraghan, The Hill, 7/27).
House Democratic Caucus Convenes To Review Bill
In related news, House Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson (Conn.) on Monday conducted "a rare, if not unprecedented," five-hour meeting with caucus members in an effort to take them section-by-section through the large House reform bill, Roll Call reports.
Larson said, "This in-depth look at the bill is another step in our efforts to keep our members informed and educated on this important topic," noting that it was the 11th caucus meeting devoted to health care (Bendery, Roll Call, 7/27).Staffers from the three House committees that crafted the bill were on hand at the meeting (CQ Politics, 7/28). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.