AND IN THE SENATE... – AT 10:41 A.M. ET: So much attention has been focused on the House vote on unhealthy care tomorrow that we forget there's another division of Congress, the U.S. Senate. The Hill reports on what the Senate might do if the bill passes the House:
The Senate could take up the healthcare bill as early as Tuesday if the House passes it on Sunday, the second-ranking Senate Republican said Friday night.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he expected the Senate debate on healthcare to begin Tuesday if House Democrats are able to stay on track and pass their bill tomorrow afternoon as planned.
Only a simple majority would be required, as the bill would be taken up under the rules of the reconciliation process.
Under those rules, there is limited debate and an exhaustive round of amendments before moving to final passage, which only requires a simple majority instead of the 60 votes normally needed to end a filibuster in the Senate.
Conversely, new elements of the healthcare bill could be stricken if they are deemed to not strictly relate to budgetary issues. Republicans are hoping to force such changes through points of order.
"Now, points of order can be raised at any time, and there will be a several points of order that can be raised against this legislation," Kyl explained.
The Republican goal is clear:
If Republicans are able to force changes in the Senate, it raises the prospect of the bill returning to the House again, where Democratic leaders over there would be forced to wrangle the votes again to pass the legislation.
COMMENT: A momentous week coming up. Get out all those self-examination medical kits available online from companies you never heard of, 'cause that's what you'll need if this monstrosity goes through.
March 20, 2010