Republican Lawmakers Aim To Force Early Vote on Health Reform Bill
On Thursday, House Republicans plan to offer a resolution that would force a vote on the Senate health reform bill (HR 3590) separately from the chamber's so-called "corrections" bill, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room" reports (O'Brien, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room," 3/17).
The Republican resolution is expected to be introduced by Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) as a previous question to a suspension authority rule.
It will come after a closed-door bicameral Republican Conference meeting on Thursday, during which GOP leaders plan to discuss ways to present a "united front" against the health reform bill (Kucinich, Roll Call, 3/17)
Republicans' Other Strategies To Combat Health Reform
The GOP also is planning a number of other actions intended to slow down or completely defeat Democrats' attempts to enact health reform legislation, Politico reports.
GOP lawmakers say they plan to formulate several procedural objections against major and minor elements of the corrections bill, which they say might prevent as much as 40% of the legislation's provisions from being enacted.
The GOP could use two separate approaches to help them block the budget reconciliation process. The first approach would have Republicans use budget points of order and the Byrd Rule to delay Democrats. In budget points of order, the GOP would claim that the bill does not comply with pay-as-you-go rules, while the Byrd rule prohibits "extraneous" items from the bill.
In the second approach, the GOP is considering offering an unlimited number of amendments to force Democrats to vote on "politically treacherous" issues, which might block passage of the bill, according to Politico.
Republicans also are leveraging the media in their attacks against Democrats. For example, some Senate GOP members are engaging local media in Democrats' Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania districts to drive coverage of the effort.
In addition, GOP lawmakers say they plan to make floor speeches to try to convince wavering Democrats to withhold their support (Budoff Brown/Raju, Politico, 3/18).
Furthermore, Republican lawyers also are researching and drafting documents for potential lawsuits should the House pass legislation using "deem and pass" (Gerstein, Politico, 3/17).
Democrats Confident, Search Bill To Offset Challenges
Despite the potential Republican tactics, Democrats say they remain confident that reform legislation will pass. Some lawmakers have noted that that every reconciliation bill introduced since the rules were implemented in 1980 has passed.
In addition, Senate Democratic aides recently scrutinized legislative language to ensure that few parts of the health reform bill could be challenged (Politico, 3/18).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.