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MSNBC "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" - Transcript

Interview

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REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, it"s interesting

that Leader Boehner would say that. That must make him a magician, because

he was fully immersed and involved in all of the reconciliation efforts of

the Republican leadership over the last number of years, including the Bush

tax cuts, which are, you know, even larger than--in terms of costs--

than this health care reform proposal.

You know, the bottom line here is that we just need to pass health

care reform with a simple majority up or down vote. As you said, Lawrence,

the Senate has already passed a health care reform bill, comprehensive

health care reform, with 60 votes, a supermajority. Reconciliation, which

is--you know, Washington speak for simple majority--would just clear up

the differences between the House and Senate bills and make sure that we

can send this bill to the president"s desk and not allow the Republicans to

continue to be obstructionist, which is what they"re interested the most in

doing.

O"DONNELL: Do you think that wavering Democrats in the House need

to hear the word "reconciliation" from the president? Do they need

specific leadership from the president validating going forward in a

reconciliation bill?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think the president needs to remain fully

immersed in this. I think he needs to continue to quarterback the--

bringing the ball, you know, across the goal line here, so to speak.

That"s going to be a critical component to making sure that we can get this

done.

O"DONNELL: What is happening in the House as you watch the public

option gain favor in the Senate as part of a possible reconciliation bill?

Is that giving more possible momentum for the House to insist on a public

option being in the bill?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, of course, we passed a health care reform

bill out of the House with the public option in it. The majority of our

caucus continues to support that. But I think, very likely, we will pass

health care reform without a--we are more likely to pass health care

reform without a public option, because we"ve got the Senate bill as the

template and the reconciliation provisions need to be directly related to

budget measures.

So, I"m not sure that we can do a public option under the simple

majority rules of reconciliation.

O"DONNELL: Now, the leadership has been pretty frank. In fact,

they"ve been more open about this than I"ve ever seen them--admitting

that they don"t feel they have the votes as of now in the House.

What do they need to get those votes? Do they need time? Are there

persuasive devices that they have yet to use that they can use?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think once we start counting, we will

reach the--now 216 votes that we need to send this bill to the president.

With the resignation of Congressman Nathan Deal, the Republican from

Georgia today, we now have--we need a majority which includes 216 of the

members of the body currently.

So, I think we"re going to be working hard to figure out what

members" concerns--remaining concerns are. We also, as the speaker has

stressed, need to put together the final legislative package and shop that

to members, make sure they understand what"s in it, find out what their

concerns are, and as we whip--begin to whip this legislation, I"m

confident, as the speaker is, that we"ll get there.

O"DONNELL: One thing House members have trouble being confident

about is what the Senate is going to do. What do you need to see from the

Senate before the House can act?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, we do need to make sure that they are

going to pass the--they"re going to give us a simple majority vote on the

remaining measures that we need to work out on the differences between the

House bill and the Senate bill--because, obviously, it"s very important.

We have put our votes up on the board for health care reform. We have

consistently been there and underscored the needs to make sure that we can

bring costs down for the American people, provide some security and

stability to those who have health insurance. And with the $100 billion

deficit and the reduction--deficit reduction measure in this bill, we"re

going to be able to get there.

O"DONNELL: Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz of Florida--

thanks for your time tonight.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you, Lawrence.

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