Pelosi: Obamacare Was ‘Bipartisan,’ Only Final ‘Tweaks’ Made in Reconciliation

By Penny Starr | January 6, 2017 | 5:15pm EST

House Minority Leader Nancy

Pelosi (D-Calif.). (AP) 

( – Speaking to reporters at U.S. Capitol on Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that only “tweaks” were made to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, under a reconciliation bill before it was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, and, in fact, the process was “bipartisan.”

Obamacare, which the incoming Trump administration wants to repeal, passed in the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010 by a vote of 219-212.  Not one Republican voted for the bill and 34 Democrats voted against it. asked Pelosi, “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?”

“Actually – thank you for asking that question,” Pelosi said. “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,” she said. “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,” Pelosi said. followed up: “But it passed without a single Republican vote.”

“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,” Pelosi said. “But by and large the whole process was done with the 60 votes – hundreds of hearings, bipartisan, over and over again.”

The 60 yes votes were Democrat, the 39 opposed were Republican.

“Some Republican amendments taken, some Democratic amendments taken; some Democratic and Republican amendments modified; some Democratic and Republican amendments rejected,” Pelosi said. “They were treated in a similar fashion.”


According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “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.”

“Policymakers have enacted 20 budget reconciliation bills since 1980, the first year they employed the process; four other measures were approved by Congress but vetoed by the President,” according to the CBPP.

“Policymakers used reconciliation to enact major spending cuts during President Reagan’s first year in office, several deficit-reduction packages during the 1980s and 1990s, welfare reform in 1996, and the large Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.”

MRC Store