House Economic Stimulus Bill ‘Buried’ in Senate
Congress "officially buried" the economic stimulus package yesterday, after Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) declined to schedule a Senate vote on a bill approved by the House early that morning, the Washington Post reports (Kessler/Dewar, Washington Post, 12/21). The House bill, a revised version of a measure the chamber approved in October, would have included $33 billion in funds to extend benefits to unemployed workers and would have provided them with a tax credit to cover 60% of the cost of private health insurance. It also included a number of tax provisions targeted at businesses and individuals. Senators who supported the House bill appeared to have at least 52 votes in favor of the measure, but they lacked the 60 votes necessary to "get around procedural delays" (Espo, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/21). Late yesterday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) tried to bring up the bill, but Daschle objected, trying instead to pass a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. Lott objected to that move, and "the matter was dropped," the Post reports (Washington Post, 12/21). Daschle said the House bill did not contain enough "permanent aid" for unemployed workers who lack health coverage, and that it cut taxes "too much" (Bayer, Washington Times, 12/21). "We only have three problems with the stimulus package the House passed [Thursday morning]: content, stimulus value and cost," Daschle said (Kirchoff, Boston Globe, 12/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.