Reid Pressing Ahead With Jobs Bill Without Health Care Provisions
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he would back a House-passed job creation bill (HR 2847) instead of a separate Senate proposal that included several health care-related provisions, CongressDaily reports (Goode/Friedman, CongressDaily, 2/12).
On Thursday, Reid filed a cloture motion on the House bill, which sets it up for a procedural vote on Feb. 22 and "effectively block[s] any other amendments" from being offered to the underlying measure, according to CQ HealthBeat.
Earlier on Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) began circulating their $85 billion draft proposal, which would have delayed until Oct. 1 a scheduled cut to Medicare physician reimbursement rates and extended Medicare benefits for physical and rehabilitative therapy.Â
The temporary fixes would cost $10 billion over 10 years.
In addition, the Baucus/Grassley proposal would extend through the end of May unemployment insurance and federal health insurance subsidies for unemployed U.S. residents under the COBRA program.
The provision would cost $25 billion over 10 years, CQ HealthBeat reports.
Portions in the Finance Committee package that were omitted are expected to be taken up in separate legislation at a later time (Schatz, CQ HealthBeat, 2/11).
According to the New York Times, Reid's move to embrace a package that omits several crucial provisions, including those related to health care, "caught some lawmakers by surprise" and "threatened to undermine Republican support" for the bill (Hulse/Herszenhorn, New York Times, 2/12).
A spokesperson for Grassley said, "This Reid announcement undermines the carefully crafted Baucus-Grassley effort and throws sand in the gears of bipartisan negotiation," adding, "It's disappointing and surprising, considering we were told that Reid staff was aware of and signed off on the Baucus-Grassley statement this morning."Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said that Reid's move aims to counter expected opposition from Republicans to the Baucus-Grassley package (CongressDaily, 2/12). 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.