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Monday, March 22, 2010

Senate's Version Of Obamacare Passes The House- What Next?

As many already know the House of Representatives passed the Senate's version of Obamacare aka Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, with a vote of 219 to 212, roll call found here.

Many wonder what comes next.

Next the Obamacare bill gets sent to Barack Obama to sign into law.

A separate measure, the reconciliation bill, which includes changes to the Senate bill, which also passed the House last night, goes to the Senate to voted on using a procedure called reconciliation where Harry Reid must attempt to get 51 of his fellow Senators to vote to pass 153-page package of amendments to that legislation in order to make changes to the Obamacare bill that is already passed.

Before the Senate can vote though, it must get passed the Senate parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, who will determine if the fixes bill meets the standards to be allowed to use the reconciliation process.

Senate Republicans believe they can get the whole package of fixes thrown out because it does not meet those standards.

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.

For an appetizer, take a look at Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg’s statement tonight.

“Immediately after receiving the final reconciliation bill language, Senate Republican staff was ready and willing to meet with Senate Democratic staff and the Senate Parliamentarian to discuss the fact that the House reconciliation bill may be brought down by the 310(g) point of order in the Senate. Senate Democrats are mysteriously unavailable until after the House votes on the health care bill tonight. The Senate Democrats appear to be pushing off this meeting so that House Democrats will remain in the dark about what is likely to happen to the reconciliation bill on which many have staked their careers in Congress. House Democrats should be alarmed by this latest development, since the survival of the reconciliation bill is clearly at risk in the Senate.”

Washington Post provides some context:

If Frumin sides with Republicans on a particular provision, it would be dropped from the amendments bill -- unless Democrats can find 60 votes to override the ruling. That would be unlikely, given the unified opposition of Republicans to the Democratic bill. Such a ruling would not doom the legislation, but it would force the Senate to return the measure to the House for another vote.

Bears mentioning that Republicans tried to meet with Democratic counterparts to deal with the parliamentarian issues before the House voted on the Senate version of Obamacare, but were put off until after the House voted.

Speculation is running rampant that the Senate Democrats did not want the House Democrats to know that the reconciliation bill will not pass, as is and will definitely be sent back to the House for another vote.

The battle over Obamacare will continue to be fought out as Senate Democrats deal with the fixes bill, but also well into the mid term elections and into the courts where three Attorney General's, in three different states, Virginia, Florida and South Carolina, have already stated they will file legal challenges to Obamacare saying that portions of it violates the Constitution.

More on those lawsuits to which nine separate states will be joining in on, found in the following post.


ABC's The Note covers reactions from...well damn near everywhere, so head on over and read.