Reid Surveys Senate Democrats About Timing of Reform Debate
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to survey the chamber's Democratic Conference to gather members' opinions on launching a floor debate of the final health reform bill next week, Roll Call reports.
During the caucus's weekly luncheon, Reid will seek the senators' thoughts on whether to start the debate before the Thanksgiving holiday or wait until they return in the first week of December (Pierce, Roll Call, 11/10).
Last week, Reid declined to set a specific timeline for the bill and said he prefers "no timetables."
However, Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Reid, on Monday said that Reid "continues to work with the Obama administration to get a bill done by the end of the year" (Rushing, The Hill, 11/9).
In addition, Reid on Monday said, "We're going to get on health care ... before Thanksgiving, or at least give it our utmost to get on that bill."
Impact of CBO Score
The timing of the debate depends on how quickly the Congressional Budget Office delivers its cost and coverage assessment of the bill, which Reid submitted last month, according to Roll Call (Roll Call, 11/10).
Senior aides and senators expect the score report to be ready by the end of this week or early next week.
After CBO releases its score, Democrats plan to move swiftly on filing the first "motion to proceed," with a vote as early as Monday to bring the bill to the floor, The Hill reports.
Democrats will need 60 votes to ensure passage of that first procedural vote, which will be the first test of Democrats' unity, according to The Hill (The Hill, 11/9).
Reluctance on the Timetable
The slim passage of the House reform bill (HR 3962) on Saturday is not likely to provide much momentum in the Senate, where lawmakers continue to face many contentious issues, such as the cost of the bill, whether to include a public option and how to address potential divisions over abortion funding (Schatz, CQ HealthBeat, 11/9).With so many divisive issues, many Democrats are hesitant to state a concrete timetable for passage. The Hill reports that "the most realistic scenario" is that the Senate will vote on its reform legislation by Christmas (The Hill, 11/9). 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.