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House Dems bide time on health care

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
After the closed Democratic Caucus meeting, the top two House Democrats told reporters that there's no rush on getting a House bill out on health care -- particularly since the legislation won't be enacted until 2013.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer reiterated that the bills will be introduced "when ready."

At a briefing this morning, Hoyer said a House bill was likely to emerge next month.

On the public option, a source of division among moderate and liberal Democrats, Pelosi stressed once again, "I believe we will have a public option" -- with this caveat -- "in OURĀ  bill."

Neither Hoyer nor Pelosi would endorse a deadline for a health bill to hit the floor, but they insisted progress is being made.

House Democrats seem to content to bide their time and wait for the Senate, particularly the Finance Committee, to finish up its work or at least appear closer to a final bill before they go ahead with their version.

Remember, moderate Democrats feel like they were burned when House leadership twisted arms and narrowly pushed through climate-change legislation -- which has yet to come up in the Senate.

Of course, the Senate Finance Committee is the place where most see the potential blueprint of a final overall bill. But its work is far from done as its public, and sometimes contentious, markup is ongoing.

Pelosi seemed to be speaking to those moderates, as she continually stressed that her "members are concerned with bringing costs down."

"Costs" are a major concern for the moderate, Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom have indicated they will not support a bill with a public option in it.