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Sunday, November 08, 2009

House Passes Obamacare, Next Step the Senate

After a long day of backroom wheeling and dealing, the House passed Pelosi's $2.6 trillion Obamacare bill, roll call can be found here. The vote was 220 to 215 with one lone Republcan voting for it. His name is Anh (Joseph) Cao of Louisiana.

The Politico explains the trouble Harry Reid has been having and how the White House is pressuring him to meet a "timeline."

With the House’s landmark vote complete, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing dissent in the Democratic ranks over his health-care strategy – leaving him struggling to meet a Christmas deadline and fielding White House pressure to get the bill done.

Even before Saturday’s House vote, senators had begun to question why Reid suddenly embraced a public health insurance option – one that he didn’t yet have the 60 votes to pass.

In the process, the Senate debate over health-care has stopped dead, raising the possibility the Senate won’t even begin floor debate until after Thanksgiving. Reid himself recently left open the chance the final bill could slip until early next year.

That remark earned him a visit from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who showed up in the majority leader’s office a day later to press him on the urgency of the Christmas deadline, according to two Senate aides.

But it’s not just timing. Reid’s first task is finding a way to bridge the divide in his caucus between liberals pushing for a public option and moderates who have resisted the most ambitious version of that plan.

And Senate moderates are clearly growing nervous about the process ahead — the difficulties of merging a still non-existent Senate bill with a more liberal bill from the House, one that has received the blessing of President Barack Obama.

So now all eyes have turned to Reid and the moderate Democrats in the Senate.