Sunday, March 21, 2010

Senate Fight Starts: GOP Says Senate Parliamentarian Will Kill Fix-Its Bill

The House bill has not yet passed and already we are seeing the reconciliation fight start in the Senate. Senate Republicans say they can get the whole package of reconciliation fixes – the fix-its that make the Senate plan palatable to House Democrats - thrown out with a trump card procedural motion. And they say Democrats are slow-walking a decision from the parliamentarian until the House passes the Senate bill. That means the Senate bill, which everyone in the House seems to universally hate, will be the law of the land. This afternoon Senate Republicans say Democrats won’t meet with them and the parliamentarian – a charge Democratic staffers call “absurd”. (The timing of the allegation also works as a last-minute, probably too-late message to wavering House Democrats). Bottom line: Don’t expect the health reform debate to end tonight even though the health reform bill will become law as soon as Obama signs the Senate bill. Should the House pass the Senate bill and the package of reconciliation fix-its tonight, Senators will take over the reconciliation fix-its as soon as Tuesday. That will set in motion a week or longer parliamentary floor battle with points of order, references to the budget act, the Byrd Rule and more

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