Today, final text and scoring of the modified version of Healthcare Overhaul (HR 3590) is expected from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Modifications reflect the negations between the House, the Senate and the White House.
Once the CBO releases its estimate, it is expected that the Budget Committee would act first, on March 15, approving the bill to be moved under expedited budget reconciliation procedures that would amend the Senate’s Legislation and prevent a filibuster in the Senate.
On March 17, the House Rules Committee would act with a rule for debate on both the reconciliation bill and the Senate health care bill. Although presently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will not commit to a timetable, the full House could then take up the measures together as soon as the next day.
Getting health care legislation through the House is the first step. The House would draft a rule for the debate that would declare the Senate bill passed upon adoption of the rule to avoid a vote directly on the Senate bill, a version that many in the House dislike. The House would then pass a “corrections” bill containing policy changes and use budget reconciliation rules which require a simple majority for passage. Leaders of the House majority are not however entirely sure how this strategy will be received. In addition, there is the possibility that numerous amendments which are allowed under the reconciliation process, may be offered to the legislation potentially stalling the passage of the healthcare legislation.
We will continue to track the progress of health care reform and as always, if you have any questions or need further information, please do not hesitate to contact my office.