The Blog

Pelosi Breaks Pledge to Put Final Health Care Bill Online for 72 Hours Before Vote

5:56 PM, Nov 5, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the speaker will not allow the final language of the health care to be posted online for 72 hours before bringing the bill to a vote on the House floor, despite her September 24 statement that she was "absolutely" committed to doing so.

House members are still negotiating important issues in the bill--whether it will provide taxpayer-funding for abortions, for example. Pelosi is pushing for a Saturday House vote, and a number of big changes will be introduced, likely less than 24 hours before the vote takes place (if in fact it does). The Rules Committee hasn't yet released its resolution, or rule, that must be passed before the bill can move from committee to the floor. The rule will set the terms of debate and determine what amendments are in order.

It seems likely that the rule will allow very few, if any, up-or-down votes on amendments on the House floor. Rather, the rule will include a series of amendments that will all be adopted at once if the rule passes.

On September 24, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that she was "absolutely" committed to putting the text of the final House bill online for 72 hours before the House votes:

TWS: Madam Speaker, do you support the measure to put the final House bill online for 72 hours before it's voted on at the very end?

PELOSI: Absolutely. Without question.

But tonight, when asked if Speaker Pelosi will leave the bill online for 72 hours after we see what's in the rule, Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly replied in an email: "No; [the] pledge was to have manager's amendment online for 72 hours, and we will do that."

Apparently Pelosi's agreement to leave the "final" bill online "at the very end" of the process wasn't such a straightforward pledge.