Senate parliamentarian sends Dems bad news, leadership schemes for special rule to pass ObamaCare
House and Senate Democrats got some bad news today as the Senate parliamentarian said that the House would have to pass the Senate version of ObamaCare and have it signed into law by the president before a fix could be pushed through via reconciliation:
The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Barack Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package, senior GOP sources said Thursday.
The Senate Parliamentarian’s Office was responding to questions posed by the Republican leadership. The answers were provided verbally, sources said.
House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.
Despite the parliamentarian’s ruling, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t seem to have any concern about pressing ahead with reconciliation.
Options for moving a fix in the House now include a special rule that would, according to Congress Daily, “consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.” Members would be voting on the rule, not the Senate version of the bill itself, at least that’s what they would tell constituents back home.
It also looks like Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and the 12 or so votes he has promising to vote against ObamaCare due to abortion funding will have a chance to kill the bill, as the Associated Press is reporting that House leadership has no intention of changing the Senate’s language on abortion. And, it’s not just Stupak, there are other Democratic members lining up against the bill. The Hill reports that 26 Democrats are on record as either solidly against the bill or leaning against it. Republicans only need 38 Democrats to cross to kill the bill.
Finally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a score on the Senate bill, including proposed fixes, and estimates that ObamaCare $875 billion over the next ten years and would supposedly reduce the deficit by $118 billion, which is nothing compared to the $9.8 trillion in projected deficits over the next ten years. The CBO’s estimate, as noted by Michael Cannon, do not measure the full cost of the bill because it doesn’t take into account the cost of mandates to the private sector.