Most hopeful story on Passing. The. Damned. Bill yet. Â The House doesn’t want to pass the Senate bill without some changes – e.g., getting rid of the Cornhusker Kickback – to be done via reconciliation. Â But for procedural reasons, says Reid, the Senate can’t go first. Â (If the reconciliation bill is a “revenue measure,” it must Constitutionally start in the House.) Â But perhaps the House can pass a reconciliation bill including the changes first, then send it to the Senate, with the House voting on the Senate’s health bill only after the Senate has approved the reconciliation bill embodying the fixes.
What I find encouraging about all this is that the conversation makes no sense unless – as I suspected – Pelosi has enough votes in her pocket to pass the bill.
Bart Stupak, and some of his fellow fans of forced childbirth who voted for the House bill with the Stupak Amendment attached, will vote no on passing the Senate bill. Â Since the thing barely passed the last time – with only one Democratic vote to spare, plus Anh Cao’s meaningless “Yes” cast after the board already showed 218 – that would seem to doom the bill.
But I was told weeks ago by a staffer for a Blue Dog who voted against the bill the first time that his boss had already promised Pelosi to vote for final passage when the bill came back from (as then expected) the conference committee, and that his member wasn’t the only one to get a “pass” on the first vote in return for a pledge on the second. Â I think the thing is going to happen. Â Having exhausted all the alternatives, the Democrats on the Hill will finally do the right thing.