Thursday, March 25, 2010

Senate GOP Forces New House Vote

And there you have it. Senate Republicans were able to sneak in two provisions that change the reconciliation bill enough to have to send it back to the house for yet another vote. Luckily, it seems that it won't make much difference.

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin ruled that two minor provisions of the health care reconciliation bill violated the so-called Byrd rule, and must be stricken. That has altered the language of the legislation and will the House to vote on the package one more time.
One of the provisions is meant to prevent Pell grant reductions (the reconciliation bill also deals with student loan reform). The other strike came against obsolete language. Both changes are incidental to the overall package, though, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to have no problem passing the bill again with the same coalition of 220 members who passed it for the first time on Sunday.
House members have been told to stay in town for a reconciliation revote, in the event that the Senate adopts the bill with a few changes. The Senate adjourned after 2 this morning, without having taken a final vote. They'll reconvene this morning at 9:45 to resume consideration.
Of course all of this is really moot and for some reason, the GOP thinks delaying the inevitable seems like a smart tactic. Stopping work at 2pm? Forcing committees to reconvene at a later time midstream? Proposing ridiculous amendments like Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's "No Viagra for Sex Offenders" in order to force Democrats into a tough vote.

If Coburn is so adamant about this, why doesn't he introduce it as a stand alone bill?  Let's see if he does after the GOP plan to derail the reconciliation vote fails.  Then we can all call him and ask why he hasn't followed up with his Viagra bill?

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