House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) now says the process of passing Obamacare in 2010 was “bipartisan,” and that only “tweaks” were made to the healthcare law using the reconciliation budgetary process.
Pelosi’s comments come as Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump begin the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
Obamacare passed in the House on March 21, 2010 with no Republican votes in favor of it and 34 Democrats voting against it.
During a press conference Friday, CNSNews.com had the following exchange with Pelosi:
CNS: You expressed yesterday opposition to repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood through reconciliation. How do you square that with that’s how the Democrats were able to put Obamacare in place in the first place?
Pelosi: Actually – thank you for asking that question. The Affordable Care Act was passed not under reconciliation when it first came to the Congress.
So the main part of the bill – House and Senate – was not under reconciliation. The final version, which was just some tweaks — I would have liked more – were what were done under reconciliation.
But the bulk of the bill – if you look back to the history of it – the bulk of the bill was done … on the 60-vote rule, not under reconciliation.
CNS: But it passed without a single Republican vote.
Pelosi: Well … 60 Democrats then and then the two bills passed and then the Senate bill was a little bit different from the House bill, so some of those changes were not, shall we say, structural; it was just some changes in the legislation that did go under reconciliation. But by and large the whole process was done with the 60 votes – hundreds of hearings, bipartisan, over and over again.
Some Republican amendments taken, some Democratic amendments taken; some Democratic and Republican amendments modified; some Democratic and Republican amendments rejected. They were treated in a similar fashion.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, however:
Reconciliation was most recently used in 2010 to help pass the Affordable Care Act and modify the federal student loan program, and then in 2016 in a vetoed attempt to repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act.
Pelosi – now famously – said prior to the passage of Obamacare, “We’ll have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”