House Now Taking Crucial Votes On Health Reform
News outlets are reporting on the minute-by-minute activity in the House of Representatives.
CNN: "6:28 p.m.: The House votes to move into general debate over the health care legislation. The vote is 224-206. Debate is slated for two hours. The fact that the motion to debate passed is an indication that Democrats have enough votes to pass the legislation itself" (3/21).
Roll Call: "The rule provides for two hours of debate followed by votes on the Senate health care bill, a Republican motion to recommit, and the reconciliation package of fixes to the Senate bill. Republicans, who have launched a series of delaying tactics already today, still have a few opportunities to extend debate. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) can speak for an unlimited amount of time under the traditions of the House, and he spoke for an hour on climate change legislation last year. If passed, the Senate bill would immediately be sent to the president's desk, while the reconciliation bill will head to the Senate, where a majority has promised to quickly pass it" (Newmyer, 3/21).
The New York Times at 5:39 pm: "Leaders have been wondering - what to expect tonight as we head into the evening hours up here on Capitol Hill. Our best guess, according to my colleagues who are veterans of late-night legislating, is that the final vote may come about 9 p.m. or later (3/21).
The Hill: "Democrats are worried about holding their members together on a GOP motion that could kill the healthcare bill. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said House leaders are specifically concerned about a Republican motion to recommit that would contain only language on abortion that Stupak originally had wanted to include in the Senate bill. The concern is based on the fear of GOP attack ads painting Democrats who vote against a motion to recommit that includes Stupak's favored language on abortion as 'flip-floppers' on the issue. ... If enough Democrats with Republicans backed the motion to recommit the bill to committee, it would effectively kill the healthcare bill. ... Right now the best defense House leaders have against such a prospect is a colloquy that Stupak will hold on the House floor to publicly reaffirm that the executive order upholds the ban on federal funding of abortion" (Allen, 3/21).
CongressDaily: "Meanwhile, a Democratic aide confirmed that Senate leaders have 52 votes in favor of the reconciliation bill being considered on the House floor tonight. Vice President Biden, who would cast a tiebreaking vote, is not included in the count" (3/21).