When Denis McDonough stepped onto House Democrats’ turf on Thursday, he was armed only with a PowerPoint presentation on fixing Obamacare’s website and talking points about the president’s proposal allowing people to keep their health care plans.
The White House chief of staff might have been better off revealing a U.S. map with the president’s plan for saving congressional Democrats’ seats — or just apologizing for letting so many Democrats walk out in public and repeat wildly inaccurate White House claims about the health of the enrollment website and Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans if they liked them.
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other party leaders discussed options for a bill with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just before McDonough arrived to address the full caucus. She is trying to help the White House stem a tide of House Democrats who are leaning toward voting for a GOP bill, due on the House floor Friday, that would address the cancellation issue in much broader fashion than Obama would like.
“We don’t have a policy problem,” Pelosi told her Democrats in the private meeting, a defense of the law written by Congress. “We have a website problem.”