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Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill On Health Care Reform

The Senate passed the Reconciliation Bill this afternoon, but thanks to a parliamentary ruling, it will have to go back to the House of Representatives one more time:

The Senate passed the final piece of President Obama’s landmark health-care package Thursday and sent it back to the House after Republicans identified two minor violations of reconciliation rules that forced changes to a provision on student loans.

House Democratic leaders, who had labored to pass the package Sunday by a narrow margin, said they did not expect the changes to be a significant problem and vowed the approve the bill in question later in the day.

The Senate passed the House’s package of revisions to the health-care legislation –with the two small changes — by a vote of 56 to 43.

Democratic leaders said the provisions that were struck — from the part of the bill dealing with Pell Grants for college students — do not significantly affect the student loan program or the overall health-care bill.

Senators stood and voted from their desks as the roll was called, a traditional reserved for high-profile bills. Before the vote, the Senate observed a moment of silence for the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the Democratic champion of health-care reform, who died last year midway through the debate.

Three Democrats voted against the bill: Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas, and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. All three lawmakers supported the legislation that was signed into law on Tuesday but objected to particular provisions in the reconciliation bill.

The bill now heads to the House, where the Rules Committee could begin action within hours. Democratic aides said a final vote on the package could come in early evening, although if Republicans throw up procedural barriers, the vote could be delayed until later Thursday night.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday she was confident that Democrats would have the votes to pass the reconciliation bill again, just as they did on the first tally late Sunday. She said the tweaks mandated by the Senate’s parliamentarianwould not substantially alter the bill’s impact.

“Of all the things they could have sent back, this is probably the most benign [and] easily fixed,” Pelosi told reporters. After the House voted 219 to 212 to pass the main health-care overhaul Sunday night and sent it to Obama for signature, a separate vote was held on the reconciliation bill containing fixes demanded by the House. That bill passed 220 to 211.

And, it will pass.

One Response to “Senate Passes Reconciliation Bill On Health Care Reform”

  1. Tom Degan says:

    It was a lot of fun watching these idiotic Republicans “warning” the Democrats that the passage of health care reform will cost them dearly at the polls in November. It’s going to cost someone dearly, alright, but it won’t be the Dems. Former Bush 43 speechwriter Davin Frum put it perfectly yesterday when he said that it was the Republicans – not Barack Obama – who had met their “Waterloo”. The historical rule of politics, that an incumbent president’s party always loses ground in the midterm elections, will go out the window come November. They will be unable to win without the help of the moderates. At this moment the moderates are abandoning this sinking ship en masse. The extremism of people like Michele Bachmann and John Beohner is starting to scare the hell out of them. Gee, I wonder why!

    Then there is the sticky situation of the Tea Party. By this late point it must be obvious to even the casual observer that this is an organization comprised of morons. It was formed as a protest movement against high taxes – immediately after President Obama passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history. There’s no denying it, these are not the brightest people on the planet. Their overt racism notwithstanding, they sure are funny! One self identified Tea Partier called into C-SPAN’s Washington Journal the other day asking the moderator where she could write to her congressman. When host Greta Brawner asked this idiotic woman what her congressman’s name was, she replied (I assume with a straight face) “He’s a Democrat. I don’t know his name.” Ya gotta love ‘em! Ya just gotta!

    Tom Degan

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