Health Care

Washington Buzz: CBO Score on Reconciliation... What's Next?

Published March 18, 2010, 11:14 am, CST

by Diane W. Collins


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their scoring of The Reconciliation Act of 2010, the President's "bill-of-fixes." Speaker Pelosi and Democratic leadership have been waiting for the score but have not been standing still. (CBO Score - PDF)


As reported earlier, The House Budget Committee forwarded the bill without recommendation to the House floor on March 15th. This put the bill in the hands of the House Rules Committee and Chairwoman Louise Slaughter. Chairwoman Slaughter is the one who developed a parliamentarian "solution" called the Slaughter Solution. If employed, this would allow congressmen to vote for the "bill-of-fixes" and simultaneously pass the Senate Health Care Reform bill passed Christmas Eve 2009. The Republican leadership has been quite vocal in opposition.


What's next? Democrats have promised the "bill-of-fixes" will be posted for seventy-two (72) hours prior to taking a vote in the House. We've heard this before. Hopefully it will happen. Perhaps this is a talking-point in that Speaker Pelosi is not thought to have the votes to pass the bill in the House. Perhaps this buys time. Cynical... yes. If past history plays, Pelosi will call a vote as soon as she gets the votes.


Should the Reconciliation Act of 2010 pass the House via the Slaughter Solution two-for-one process or an actual up-or-down vote separately on the Senate bill and then the Reconciliation Act of 2010, it still must pass in the Senate. Congressmen know there is no guarantee the Senate will pass reconciliation.


The bad news, if the House passes the Senate Health Care Reform bill unchanged the President will sign it. That will make it the law of the land regardless of whether or not the Senate passes reconciliation. The procedure is very important. Why do you think the Democrats are playing it down? We must stop the bill in the House.


The good news, Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are still "stumping" as shown by the press conference they are currently holding. As they continue to "sell" the bill we continue to believe they still don't have the votes. Fight to keep it that way.


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