Politics

Dems Blast ‘Stupid Bill’ on Health Care

Pelosi encourages members to be on the floor during vote but stops short of disruption

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi unloaded on the GOP health care bill. (CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is encouraging members of the Democratic caucus to be present on the floor when the chamber votes on a Republican-backed bill that would repeal and replace parts of the 2010 health care law.

But the California Democrat stopped short Thursday of advising members to interrupt afternoon floor proceedings as the minority party has attempted in recent months to protest actions by the GOP, which controls the chamber.

“No,” Pelosi said bluntly when asked if she was telling members to invoke disorder in the House. “Any disruption would give them more time to try to get their votes, which they may or may not have.”

No Democrats are expected to vote for the measure and Republican leadership has struggled this week to get enough votes to pass the measure.

Late Wednesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced it would be put on the floor the following day because they had just secured enough support to pull it over the finish line.

House Democrats spent the hours before the chamber was expected to cast its ballot Thursday blasting everything from the contents of the measure to the last-minute fast-tracking of the latest version of a bill that has not received a score from the Congressional Budget Office and whose text was made available less than 24 hours in advance.

Pelosi called it “a stupid bill.”

“It is a bill of deconstruction of government, it’s not a bill of saying, 'we have a better way to do this,'” Pelosi said.

Some Republicans on the floor countered, expressing support for the bill they said would not kick vulnerable people or those off pre-existing conditions off insurance and gives states the power to determine what insurance companies must cover under insurance plans.

After each Republican spoke, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., the New Jersey Democrat who is also the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees health care, countered by outlining exactly how many people risk losing health coverage in each member’s state.

Pelosi said Republicans who flipped their votes from “no” to “yes” did so without valid reason.

“There’s a lot of, shall we say, kabuki here,” Pelosi said. “The kabuki doesn’t kind of play back home and we’re going to make sure that people are aware of the inconsistently of it all.”

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriterGet breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.