Health Reform Bill Vote Delayed
Senate Finance Committee Republicans and Democratic moderates are asking for more time to consider their vote on the health overhaul proposal, once the Congressional Budget Office "scores" the bill.
CongressDaily: "Finance Chairman Max Baucus expects to get CBO scores soon, possibly today, on his committee's proposal. Timing for a vote in his panel will depend on what those scores reveal about the cost of his measure and whether it remains deficit-neutral after the committee's modifications. Eight moderate Democrats further complicated the floor effort Tuesday by asking Reid to post on the Internet for 72 hours the full legislative text of a final bill and complete CBO scores 'prior to the first vote to proceed on health reform legislation'" (Edney and Friedman, 10/7).
Roll Call: "Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) penned a letter to Reid calling for a 72-hour waiting period and a completed cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office before he moves to proceed on any health care bill" (Pierce, 10/6).
The Washington Post: "The Republicans want Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf and Chief of Staff to the Joint Committee on Taxation Thomas Barthold to be present for the vote," to be able to ask questions. The 10 Finance Committee Republicans sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana on Tuesday. Baucus said through a spokesman that both had already been invited to attend the vote (Lovenheim, 10/6).
CNN: "The committee is expected to vote shortly after receiving the Congressional Budget Office analysis. While the vote could come by Friday, it may also be pushed back into next week, the staffers said." Staffers say it could be "several" days before a committee vote comes (10/6).
Roll Call in a second story: "'In keeping with [President Barack Obama's] request that health care reform be revenue neutral over a ten year period and reduce the growth of health care spending over the long run, it is important that Members have an opportunity to ask questions about the legislation's deficit impact within the ten year period and beyond,' all 10 Republican Finance members wrote" (Drucker, 10/6).
The Hill reports that Baucus isn't worried about what a CBO score could do to the bill's chances: "The panel is waiting on a score from the Congressional Budget Office before holding a final vote, but Baucus doesn't think it will force them to return to the drawing board. 'I expect that we will not have to go back and change because of the CBO score. That's my expectation,' he said." Both Baucus and Sen. Christopher Dodd, lead negotiator for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said Tuesday they're working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on combining the bills, The Hill reports (Young, 10/6).