Pelosi Spends Political Capital on Vote

Monday, Mar 22, 2010  |  Updated 6:00 AM PDT
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Just Your Average Joe-Bama

AP

That's Speaker Pelosi to you.

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As President Barack Obama urged House Democrats to make history by passing the health care overhaul Sunday, Californians remain divided on the issue.
     
Supporters say the plan will help the Golden State, which carries the largest public insurance program for the poor and is struggling with a growing number of uninsured.

But opponents like Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina campaigned against it, saying the bill would contribute to more government spending and higher taxes.

There are two people who spent a huge amount of their personal political capital on the vote. They are President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Pelosi announced Saturday House Democratic leaders decided to hold a straight up-or-down vote on the bill, dropping a controversial plan that would have allowed members to approve the bill without voting on it directly.

Standing next to Pres. Obama on Saturday Pelosi said, "The best for all Americans is to have 32 million more people to have health insurance in our country.  The best for our country is to have $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction so that we’re not heaping on mountains of debt. The best for our country is to hold the insurance companies accountable and not let them come between patients and their doctors."

Pelosi also spent time Saturday meeting behind closed doors with her undecided co-workers, including anti-abortion Democrats -- Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Chris Carney of Pennsylvania, and Steven Driehaus of Ohio.  She met with each of them separately. They appeared to be on the side of Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., leader of abortion foes who are opposing the health bill unless tight restrictions are included. 


Hundreds of people picketed Democratic incumbents in swing congressional districts in the Central Valley, some in an effort to block the legislation, others to pass it.

Supporters of the plan say it will help California, which carries the largest public insurance program for the poor and is struggling with a growing number of uninsured.

The 10-year, $940 billion measure represents the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was enacted more than 50 years ago.

California stands to benefit the most from the reform proposal. Still, some residents remain suspicious of the way legislators have gone about trying to enact reforms.

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