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The Manager's Amendment

March 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As expected, the Rules Committee has released a "manager's amendment" (.pdf) to make some last minute changes to the budget reconciliation bill that contains the fixes to the Senate health care bill.

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"Deem and Pass" Deemed Dead

March 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Rules Committee meeting is still going on. But the biggest decision of the day has already been made. The Democrats have decided not to use the "self-executing rule," otherwise known as "deem and pass," and will instead hold a separate vote on passing the Senate health care bill.

This is a strong sign that Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] has more than enough votes for passing the health care bill on Sunday.

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Setting the Rules

March 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The House Committee on Rules meets at 10 a.m. ET today to craft the "rule" that will govern the big health care vote that is scheduled for Sunday in the House. The biggest question they'll have to tackle will be whether to use a "self-executing rule," which would allow the Democrats to deem the health care bill to be passed in the House without requiring them to take a stand-alone vote on it.

Here's your update on what to watch on Saurday as health care reform moves closer to the finish line.

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New Bill, New Perks

March 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

With the release of the new package of fixes to the Senate health care bill, some of the most porky items in the bill, like the "Cornhusker Kickback," the "Louisiana Purchase" and the "Gator Aid," have been eliminated. But some new state-specific provisions have also been added.

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Health Care Bill Summary: Follow the Endgame

March 18, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The 72 hour clock has begun to tick, all the materials for the final health care bill are online, a House vote is tentatively set for Sunday, President Obama has again postponed his Asia trip, and the votes are steadily flipping in the direction of getting this bill done and signed into law. Click through for a summary & links with everything you need to keep up as health care reform approaches the finish line.

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Health Care Reconciliation Bill Summary

March 18, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The full text of the Reconciliation Act of 2010 has been released, and we're hustling to covert it into HTML and get it online for easier digging, commenting and permalinking. We'll have that in a matter of hours. In the meantime, I recommend you read this summary as prepared by the House Rules Committee that describes in plain English how the bill would amend the Senate health care bill and how it would affect current law. Summary posted below the fold.

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CBO Score of Revised Health Care Bill Leaks

March 18, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Our long national nightmare is finally over. The Congressional Budget Office's score of the amended Senate health care bill has finally leaked. According to the CBO, the final package will cost $940 billion and will reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the first ten years and possibly $1.2 trillion over the next ten years.

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Kucinich Will Vote "Yes"

March 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

When health care passed the House in November, Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] was one of the 39 Democrats who voted "no." He was one of the only vote Democrats lost to the left; the only Democrat voting against it because the bill didn't do enough to eliminate for-profit insurance.

But, this morning, he said he will vote "yes" on the Senate's health care bill, even though it is more conservative than the House health care bill he originally voted "no" on.

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As I reported earlier, the "deem and pass" strategy that House Democrats are considering using for passing the Senate health care bill, allowing them to pass it without actually taking a separate vote on it, isn't unprecedented. It has been used at least 6 times for in the past 20 years for enacting what the Congressinoal Research Service calls "significant substantive and sometimes controversial propositions," mostly by Republicans.

But it has never been used in the way the Democrats are considering using it -- to pass a bill through the House that doesn't have the votes to pass on its own. As the research below shows, 4 of the 6 uses of the "deem and pass" process, also known as the "self-executing rule," were approved unanimously by voice vote. The other two passed with votes to spare. These are on the 6 supposedly controversial uses of the rule that CRS gives. It appears that the process has mainly been used to speed up adoption of Senate amendments that would have been easily approved under normal procedure.

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Ironically, the legislative maneuver chosen to protect on-the-fence House Democrats from the political fallout of voting for the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590) could actually derail it. Conservative outrage over a plan to have the House pass the bill with a self-executing rule now has lawmakers arguing over process rather than policy.

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Since the politics of the self-executing rule (a.k.a. the "deem and pass" strategy, or the "Slaughter solution") are blowing up right now -- discussion of the rule currently dominates the top half of Memerorandum -- I thought I should bring back this historcial information from a post I wrote when the idea of using the rule for health care was first reported.

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House Democrats are are considering three paths that would lead to a vote on health care by the end of the week. Two of the options would result in the Senate bill (H.R.3590) becoming the law of the land pending a successful vote, while the third option would kick responsibility for making the bill law over to the Senate.

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Let the endgames begin! The pieces of the process puzzle for finishing health care reform are falling into place. The votes are being whipped. And, after 14 months of national obsession with health care reform, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' statement on Sunday that in one week the health care bill will be "the law of the land," actually seems plausible.

Here's the latest on what to expect this week -- both politically and procedurally -- and when to expect it.

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As Health Care Winds Down, Immigration Emerges

March 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As Democrats were wrapping up -- or so they thought -- the health care bills last winter, two hot button social issues threatened to derail everything: abortion and immigration. With Democrats once again at the health care finish line, abortion has already resurfaced and now immigration has reemerged.

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Good News for the Dems

March 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Nobody know for sure what the Parliamentarian will rule, but Politico Pulse reports that sources are telling them something very different from what Republicans were claiming yesterday:

But according to reporting by POLITICO’s David Rogers, the accounts aren’t accurate and misconstrue what the Senate parliamentarians have said. That is that reconciliation must amend law but this could be done without the Senate bill being enacted first. “It is wholly possible to create law and qualify law before the law is on the books,” said one person familiar with situation.

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