Members of the House of Representatives are preparing for a major vote on health care reform, and Democrats are working to collect the votes they need to pass the current bill while many Republicans are urging them to start over. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi expects that House Democratic whips (members whose job it is to round up votes from their party) will ultimately provide the number of votes needed to pass the bill.
However, some Democrats don't want to vote for the Senate bill until changes are made to it. To address that, Pelosi is considering a process under which the House would adopt just those changes. Once that happens, the Senate bill would be deemed to have been passed as well. Even though this process, known as the "deem-and-pass" rule, has been used many times before by both Democrats and Republicans, members opposed to the current health care bill do not want it to be used to pass such massive legislation.
"We have asked the parliamentarian and the Rules Committee to tell us what our options are. And they have given us some. And I didn't hear any of that ferocity when -- the hundreds of times the Republicans used these methods when they were in power." - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
"It would be interesting to ask (Republicans) whether they're as concerned about the procedures and rules insurance companies go about to deny people health care as they are about the current debate we're engaged in." - Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
"Let's bring it down here. Let's have a good, long debate about that bill that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve, with all of its backroom deals and its public funding for abortion and its individual mandates and its tax increases. But, if you don't have the votes, let's scrap the bill; let's start over." - Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
"Listen, I don't care what trick they try; it's not going to work. This is the biggest vote that most members will ever cast. You can't hide from it. And the American people will never accept some trickery to try to make this bill become law." - Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), House minority leader
1. Why do lawmakers want to fix the health care system?
2. What is the House of Representatives, and who is Nancy Pelosi?
3. What are the two major political parties represented in the House of Representatives?
1. What is a party whip? If you were a whip, how would you go about convincing other members of your party to vote on a particular issue?
2. Do you think Congress should pass the bill they have now, or start over? Why?
3. Why do you think health care reform is so controversial?
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Rx for Reform: