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Pelosi Crafts Health Strategy

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Rep. David Dreier, the ranking member on the Rules Committee, said “it pains me” to see the procedural maneuvers Democrats are considering to move the health care reform package.

Democrats on Monday began the process of bringing the bill to the floor, with the House Budget Committee forwarding reconciliation instructions to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee will rewrite the bill with language agreed upon between House and Senate Democratic leaders and the White House, with a vote expected later this week or over the weekend.

While the House ties itself in knots over how to proceed to the bill, Senate Democrats have been trying to make sure the bill is written in a way to avoid 60-vote budget points of order.

Republicans have vowed to comb through the bill to find any failure to abide by strict reconciliation rules that require every provision to have a budget impact. If the Senate Parliamentarian deems a provision does not meet the rules, 60 votes are needed to keep the clause in the bill, but the 59-member Senate Democratic Conference is unlikely to persuade any Republicans to help them keep the bill intact.

“Both House and Senate authors have been very careful to make sure that each provision is written so that it’s not susceptible to a point of order,” one senior Senate Democratic aide said. “That’s one of the reasons it’s taken as long as it has.”

The aide added that Senate leaders are consulting with the Parliamentarian “when there are questions about whether something is subject to a point of order.”

Emily Pierce contributed to this report.

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