Just off the phone with the offices of both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), where spokespeople outlined the Senate’s path to finalizing the health reforms passed by the House over the weekend. The rundown:
President Obama at 11:15 this morning will sign the Senate’s sweeping health reform bill, which the upper chamber had passed on Christmas Eve and the House approved Sunday night. That moves the second House-passed bill — a reconciliation proposal that amends the larger Senate bill — to the Senate this afternoon. The upper chamber is expected to convene at 2:15 p.m.
Republicans, depending on their mood, could put up a few procedural hurdles to stall the process of bringing the bill to the floor, and McConnell’s office said there could be a few “parliamentary things” brought up during this process. But because this is a reconciliation bill, the filibuster isn’t an option. And both sides anticipate that the bill will be on the calendar later today.
Once the bill is on the floor, 20 hours of debate are required before the final vote. (That’s actual, active, in-session debate time.) During those 20 hours, however, lawmakers can offer amendments, and voting on those amendments won’t count toward the 20-hour clock. Because any alteration of the reconciliation bill would send the measure back to the House, Democrats aren’t likely to offer any amendments. Republicans don’t have the same motivations, though, so it’s likely we’ll see the 20 hours of debate broken up through the week by proposed GOP add-ons.
After the 20 hours has expired, the so-called vote-o-rama begins. That’s the term for the amendment free-for-all where any member of either party can propose changes to the bill. The only rule governing those amendments is that they have to be germane to either the Finance or HELP committees — the two panels through which the health reforms passed last year. That opens the door to an enormous number of amendments (the jurisdictions of those two committees are huge). But two factors will make this process less eternal than it might sound at first. (1) Once the vote-o-rama begins, it’s non-stop until the end. Meaning the Senate can’t adjourn, rest up and come back for more. And (2) the Easter recess is scheduled to begin on Friday. No lawmaker wants to be in Washington any longer than he or she has to, and if it’s apparent early that the Democrats are united in killing every GOP amendment, Republicans will likely recognize the futility in prolonging the process.
For a sense of what would happen if reconciliation is derailed and the Senate bill alone becomes law, look here.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)
One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Pete Hoekstra Surging in Michigan Gubernatorial Bid
The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee -- you couldn’t flip on a TV without seeing him in the aftermath of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s botched
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.