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More Delay

July 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Hill:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee canceled its healthcare markup session again Thursday, further dimming hopes that the House can complete its work before the August recess is scheduled to begin.

The committee began its drafting sessions on Friday and Monday. But they were canceled in the following days as Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) negotiated with Blue Dog Democrats, who’ve complained the bill doesn’t cut enough costs and puts too great a burden on employers.

House leaders have pledged to give lawmakers two days to read the final bill before any consideration on the House floor, so the bill would have to be completed by Wednesday in order to be voted on before the House is scheduled to adjourn on July 31.

Once the Energy and Commerce Committee finishes their mark-up, the three separate versions of the health care bill as marked up by the three separate committees with jurisdiction over it will have to be reconciled into a single bill. Seems like that means that today is the make-or-break day for the Democrats’ negotiating with Energy and Commerce Committee Blue Dogs. If they can reach some kind of agreement and are able to get the markup done tomorrow, the three committee leaders can work on reconciling the bills over the weekend and have a final version ready by the Wednesday deadline. But if the markup waits until Monday, getting a final bill together by Wednesday will probably not be possible.

Still, there’s always Pelosi’s idea of canceling the August recess and staying in session until the House gets a vote on health care reform. Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn [D, SC-6] today added his voice to those calling for the House to cancel the recess until they get health care done.

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