Before adjourning for August, the House Energy And Commerce Committee approved H.R. 3200 on a near party-line vote:
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday night approved a sweeping package of health-care measures, clearing a critical hurdle that sets the stage for a five-week battle for both Democrats and Republicans to define the legislation in voters’ minds before the full House votes next month.
The final pieces of an intense two-week negotiation came together Friday morning, when rank-and-file liberals on the committee struck a deal with conservative Democrats that could lead to larger subsidies for lower-income workers to pay for health insurance. The committee then approved its portion of the House’s health-care bill on a 31 to 28 vote, with five Democrats joining all 23 Republicans opposing the measure.
The committee’s vote on the bill was the last thing keeping the House from adjourning for its August recess.
While lawmakers return home to their districts, Democratic leaders in the House plan to spend the next month weaving together what three committees — Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor — have passed on health care, preparing the 1,000-page bill for a post-Labor Day vote.
Let the battle begin.