HEALTH CARE

Pelosi Calls Roll at Caucus Meeting

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi called an emergency meeting of the Democratic caucus on Friday morning and forced wavering senators to state in front of their colleagues whether they support a "robust" public option in the health-care bill. ("Robust" has become shorthand for a public option tied to Medicare rates.) After an earlier report showed Democrats a few votes short of the 218 needed to push legislation with a robust public option through, rumors indicated that Pelosi would be admitting defeat; instead, the congresswoman met with the Progressive Caucus—who support a robust public option—that night to reiterate her support and repeated that message at Friday morning's emergency meeting. An attendee of the meeting said there was "overwhelming support" for the "Medicare plus 5 percent" public option, but at least fifty caucus members who didn't attend the meeting were still not committed. Assuming a unanimous Republican vote of no, Pelosi can afford to lose only 38 votes from her own caucus.