Let's Make a Deal - How Pelosi bought health care reform votes

It isn't so much the idea that votes were traded for legislative favors. We are all savvy and sophisticated enough to realize that this happens all the time no matter which party is in control.

The problem is that an already overstuffed bill was piled high with pork in order to nail down those last dozen or more votes for passage.

Jonathan Allen and Patrick O'Connor of Politico have some of the stuff that members found behind Door #2:

Reps. Baron Hill of Indiana and Dan Maffei of New York were among a clutch of junior members who clamored for a promise that Democratic leaders would work to reduce a 2.5 percent tax on medical device manufacturers. Done.

Freshman Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) needed some reassurances that his issues - cost containment and comparative effectiveness - would get more attention in the House-Senate conference. Even a phone call from President Barack Obama didn't fully reassure him, until after more talks with House leaders. But in the end, done.

Two first-year members, Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania and Larry Kissell of North Carolina, asked Pelosi to allow unmarried adults under the age of 27 to secure coverage under their parents' plans. Done.

And Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) had serious doubts with key parts of the bill, but wanted a promise from leadership that they would be addressed in the House-Senate conference. Done.

Then there were those members who, just like on the game show, got a little greedy and ended up with a real turkey:

But not every deal sought was a deal granted.

Numerous Democratic aides said a handful of lawmakers tried to use their votes as leverage to upgrade to a better committee assignment. Those were a no-go, leadership aides said - usually summarily dismissed.

And in contrast with some bills - like the recent cap-and-trade vote, an even harder vote for some key members and one where far more deals were struck - House leaders often were able to appeal to the members' sense of history, or their desire to improve health coverage for constituents, without having to resort to concrete promises to secure votes.

Ed Lasky adds:

I guess pork is good for one's political health....


Fairly nauseating that our mainstream media, where most people derive their views and knowledge, did not spend much time informing Americans about these discreditable "payoffs". Who knows what communications were relayed regarding future careers once our politicians leave office?

All this horse trading got Pelosi her Grand Prize: an all expenses paid trip to the poor house for the American people.