Here's the audio form today's conference call with Speaker Pelosi about the release of the House bill.. Sorry, I'm a bit under the weather so I don't have the blow by blow, but I was able to get on the call and record it for you. She didn't know if she would allow amendments to the bill, but was against the idea. There were a few questions from bloggers that followed.
(I edited out just a few minutes because there was a technical problem when the conference service tried to connect bloggers to ask their questions.)
UPDATE I: To members of the media, please credit Crooksandliars.com if you use any portion of this audio. Thank you in advance.
mcjoan has a great write up of the conference call: Pelosi: House Bill is a "Manifestation of Rejecting Business as Usual"
Because there has been conflicting information this morning on whether amendments would be allowed for the bill, I asked Speaker Pelosi if that decision had been made. As of yet, she says she's been too busy getting the bill melded to focus on that, but that she "would have to be talked into it," but isn't closed. The fly in the ointment on amendments is Rep. Bart Stupak and threat to team up with Republicans "unless Democratic leaders allow a floor vote on an amendment that would add new restrictions on the use of federal funding for health plans that cover abortion with private dollars."
This complicates the issue of the single payer amendment that Rep. Anthony Weiner was promised he would be able to offer. When Chris Bowers asked about it, Pelosi said that she would be meeting with Weiner and Rep. Kucinich today or tomorrow. Additionally, Rep. Grijalva is continuing to push for the robust public option.
"I am not rolling over. I will insist on a Medicare-plus-five amendment on the Floor so that the full Caucus can vote on it. We are hopeful that the Rules Committee will allow this amendment, which has tremendous public support, to be voted on for the record."
Leadership, including Rules Committee chair Louise Slaughter, are going to have some interesting needle-threading to do on the rule for floor action and the amendment process on this one. The schedule has not yet been determined completely. It will be available for the next 72 hours for all members to access, then will be submitted as the manager's amendment Monday morning. Floor action could begin as soon as next Thursday. She said that it's possible to have a vote before Veterans Day, Nov. 11, but as of yet that's not decided.