House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pinning the blame on Republicans for a lack of bipartisanship in Congress and plans to bypass them if they continue to oppose efforts to enact near-universal health care.
“A constitutional majority is 51 votes,” Pelosi said in an interview Tuesday with Roll Call. “If in fact the Republicans are going to say nothing can be done except by 60 percent, then maybe we all should be elected with 60 percent. It isn’t legitimate in terms of passing legislation.”
Pelosi has been wary of publicly giving advice to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or President Barack Obama, but it’s no secret that House Democrats have been increasingly frustrated at the dysfunction on the opposite side of the building.
“There is some unease when you talk about, well, what’s happening to the initiatives to help the American people?” Pelosi said. “Is there never anything that can be done without 60 votes?”
The shattering of the 60-vote Democratic Senate supermajority with the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has revived talk among Democrats of bypassing filibusters, and Pelosi has forcefully argued for doing just that to complete work on the party’s stalled health care package.
The Speaker, who oversaw her chamber’s passage of a $1.2 trillion health care bill last fall, has repeatedly balked at White House suggestions following Brown’s election that the House merely accept the Senate’s version of the overhaul and has been pushing the Senate to adopt a host of changes through a separate, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill.