OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Your Guide to the House Health Care Vote

March 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

After more than 13 hours and 80 amendments later, the Rules Committee adjourned on Saturday night with a rule in place to allow the House of Representatives to debate and vote Sunday on the health care bill and the package of fixes in the reconciliation bill. As announced earlier in the day, there will be no “deem and pass” straegy employed. The health care bill and the reconciliation bill conatining the “fixes” will get straight up-or-down votes.

In total, it’s expected that there will be seven votes held throughout the day. Two on the rule, two on budget points of order, one on a Republican motion to recommit, and one each on the two bills that will be voted on. All of the votes will require a simple majority of 216 “ayes” to pass. All the action is expected to start at about 1 p.m. ET. Here’s your guide to Sunday’s floor debate as the Democrats take this monumental step towards finalizing Congress and President Obama’s health care reform effort.

1) Debate of the rule — At 1 p.m. ET, the Chair of the House Committee on Rules, Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28], will officially start the health care debate by calling up the “rule,” H.Res.1192, that will govern it.

2) Vote on ending debate of the rule — After one hour of debating the rule, the House will take up a “previous question motion,” which, essentially, asks if the House is ready to end debate on the rule and begin debate of the actual legislation. It’s possible that this will be agreed to unanimously by voice vote — these kinds of motions typically are simply agreed to, but with the health care debate it’s not safe to expect the typical.

3) Voting on the rule — Having voted to end debate of the rule, the House will then vote on approving the rule itself.

4) Health care debate begins — The Senate health care bill and the package of fixes contained in the reconciliation bill will happen at the same time under the rule approved on Saturday night. The rule allows for two hours of debate to be equally divided between the Republicans and the Democrats.

5) Vote on budget point of order — The rules allows Republicans to raise a point of order agains the bill under clause 10 of House rule XXI, otherwise known as “paygo.” They would have to make an agument that, contrary to the CBO, the bill would raise the deficit. A Democratic motion to waive the point of order will be voted on.

6) Vote on the health care bill — After two hour of debate, the House will vote on a motion to agree to the Senate amendments to H.R.3590, a.k.a. the Senate health care bill.

7) Debate of the reconciliation bill begins — After the House approves the Senate health care bill, they will immediately take up the package of fixes contained in the Reconciliation Act of 2010. The rule, which will have been approved earlier in the day, states that the 153-page amendment released by the Democrats on 3/17 and the 9-page amendment to that amendment released on 3/20 will be deemed adopted as the text of the reconciliation bill.

8) Vote on budget point of order — Again, the Republicans are allowed to raise a paygo objection at this point. If they raise the objection, the House will vote on a Democratic motion to waive it.

9) Vote on a Motion to recommit — House Republicans will be given one last chance to kill or severely alter the reconciliation bill with a motion to recommit. The basic idea of a motion to recommit is that it would send a bill back to the committee it came from for a revision. The Democrats are required to allow the Republicans to have this vote by a House rule that was established by the Republicans in the 104th Congress. The Republicans will likely use the motion to recommit to force a vote on an issue related to the bill that some Democrats would want to vote in favor of, like stronger abortion funding restrictions or a repeal the individual mandate. The text of the motion to recommit does not have to be released beforehand and only gets ten minutes of debate before being voted on. This is the big potential pitfall the Democrats face in getting the reconciliation bill through the House. David Waldman at Congress Matters has more details.

10) Vote on the reconciliation bill — If the Democrats can stick together to overcome the Republican motion to recommit, they will then hold a final vote on the reconciliation bill. According to Ezra Klein, this vote will take place at around 9 p.m. ET.

11) Fin — if the reconciliation bill passes, it gets sent to the Senate for debate and votes next week. The Senate health care bill, having been passed earlier, will enter the enrollment process (.pdf) in preparation to be signed into law by President Obama. It’s still not clear whether Obama will sign the health care bill right away, or whether he’ll wait for the reconciliation bill to pass the Senate and sign both of them into law at the same time.


Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.


  • Shmoe 03/21/2010 5:13am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    This is truly starting to look like a historic day. To most, it will be the day America woke up. To others, it will be the day fascism, socialism, nazism (pick an -ism) struck America, unfortunately.

  • Comm_reply
    johnmc1234 03/22/2010 4:57am

    by your definition every day is historic?

  • LilyDune 03/21/2010 10:28am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    If the Health Care bill does not pass, it will be a reflection of the corruption and self-interest of many people in Congress as well as the power of the insurance companies. Please do what is best for America and pass this bill. Put the petty bickering and power plays aside and do what is right for this country. Thank you. And thanks for for providing this forum; it is great.

  • BenjaWiz 03/21/2010 11:35am

    Kill The Bill, The Democrats are lying on Obama signing an executive order against abortions they are in real need of vote once this gets passed it will be tax funded abortions on demand ask yourself is this moral?

  • Collateral 03/21/2010 11:53am

    The funny thing about this is that, if this bill passes most health care facilities will have to shut down. People think they’re just full of money to spend left and right, however at my work we have to reject medicare/medicaid patients about 90% of the time because we don’t get reimbursed enough money to even pay for the drug alone and that’s not including the nursing and other requirements such as pumps, and other required supplies.

    I really wish people would stop relying on the government to carry them from the cradle to the grave.

    This is a sad day for America, God help us all.

  • Morality 03/21/2010 12:18pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    God forbid we should live in a society where we take care of the basic medical needs of our fellow men, women and children.

    For you to say “God help us all” stuns me… God helps through the actions and sacrifices of those with compassion, not through your indifference and selfishness.

  • Comm_reply
    CoreyC 03/21/2010 10:44pm

    It’s funny to me that you talk about compassion because there is no compassion in this bill. It would be compassionate to volunteer time or money to help those in need, it’s not compassionate to be told “You WILL give us money to give to those in need or we will levy fines against you and get the IRS involved.” That’s closer to the strong arm tactics of a loan shark than it is to compassion.

    I will happily help those who are willing to help themselves, those who are looking to better their situation. I choose not help those that have come to expect the help and as a result accept their situation and make no efforts to improve it. I believe strongly in personal responsibility and I choose to show compassion to those who NEED it but do not WANT it.

  • Morality 03/21/2010 12:32pm

    Also this statement:

    “I really wish people would stop relying on the government to carry them from the cradle to the grave.”

    …makes no sense, given that this bill mandates that individuals have insurance, starting 2014. It’s forcing people to take care of themselves, just like we currently require drivers to insure themselves. Do you even know ANYTHING about this bill?

  • Comm_reply
    CoreyC 03/21/2010 10:33pm

    I have never had anything worse the flu in all of my adult life, why should I be required to have health insurance? Drivers are required to carry auto insurance for the protection of those they may hit; I don’t think your leg is going to spontaneously break if I were to break my arm.

    Contrary to what you may think, many people do expect the gov’t to carry them from cradle to grave. As the saying goes “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach him to fish and he will eat for all of his days.” Certain portions of society expect to be given a “fish” everyday…and if it’s even hinted that they might not get one they become angry and threatening. When did we, as society, give up on expecting people to be responsible for themselves and to go out and catch their own “fish”?

  • Comm_reply
    johnmc1234 03/22/2010 4:55am

    Funny thing is i have to have auto insurance (a requirement in Texas) but why do I also have to have uninsured motorist insurance? ok i get it now, it is similar to auto insurance because I have to pay for others to be insured.

    How does this bill force people to take care of themselves? does it require you to go to yearly checkups, does it require you to do anything other than pay premiums or fines? just because you have health insurance does not mean you use it. I have not been to a doctor in a long time yet have insurance for my family.

  • LucasFoxx 03/21/2010 1:25pm

    My estimation of Rep. Jessie Jackson jr. has gone up several notches today. That got a bit brutal a few times.

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.