Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final push for health reform--We're almost there

The current vote count puts Democrats within five to six votes of passing historic health reform. The final six votes will most likely come from anti-abortion congressmen who will agree to a carefully worded executive order to make clear, once again, that no federal funds will go to fund elective abortions which will not really be a change from existing administration policy or federal law.

Also, the House will NOT use the "deemed passed"strategy but will vote separately on the Senate bill and the Reconciliation bill. Odds continue to improve that the Senate bill will be signed into law by Obama sometime early next week and that the changes in the reconciliation bill will go before the Senate for a week-long debate and then vote. Reid is promising the House that he has the 51 votes he needs to pass the House reconciliation bill. Rumor has it that the House Democrats may be given a letter signed by 51 Democratic Senators saying they will vote for the House reconciliation bill.

The final drama on health reform will begin to play out in the House around 1PM tomorrow with votes beginning around 2PM. Three votes will be taken. First, the House will vote on the rules to follow in the health reform votes. Second, the House will vote on the Reconciliation bill fixing things in the Senate bill House members do not like. Finally, the House will vote to pass the Senate bill. The Senate parliamentarian has informed the House that they can vote on the reconciliation bill first. "Yes" votes on each of these will come exclusively from Democrats. All Republicans will vote "NO." "Yes" votes will probably be just 216 or barely more than that and health reform will become law.

This is an historic moment. It is very likely that tomorrow we will witness the passage of legislation that is equivalent to the passage of Social Security and Medicare combined. If this happens, Obama would have achieved what Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton could not.

Tomorrow will be a great day for Democrats and an even greater day for the country.

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