House Majority Whip James Clyburn, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments earlier, said that there weren’t enough votes to swallow the Senate bill whole.
Asked on MSNBC if the House could pass the Senate bill, Clyburn was emphatic.
“No we can’t,” Clyburn said. “I think the Speaker is absolutely correct. The fact of the matter is, everybody keeps focusing on the Senate and 60, and they don’t seem to remember that we have to get to 218 in the House. ”
At the same time, he seemed to float the idea that they may be able to make some modifications using reconciliation.
“We have a real problem with the Senate bill as is,” he said. “We can do some corrections and modifications with that bill and get that through the House under reconciliation, but we can’t in this current form.”
So it’s unclear from his comments whether it’s still a theoretical possibility that Democrats may try to have the House pass the Senate bill and use reconciliation to modify it. But passing a reconciliation bill isn’t as easy as it sounds — they’d have to write a new bill, have it go the relevant committees, get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and then figure out what elements would have to be struck because they can’t be passed through the rules governing the use of the procedure. So either Democrats would be willing to drag this process on for months more, or the House would have to pass the Senate bill with the promise of getting changes made, amid lots of uncertainty. But based on Pelosi and Clyburn’s comments today, it doesn’t seem that such a promise would be sufficient to resolve the concerns of House members.
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