Senate Dems Face GOP Delays — And Snow — In The Next Days Of The Health Overhaul Debate
The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will unveil Saturday morning "a highly-anticipated amendment to the Senate healthcare bill. Reid will unveil his amendment with a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shortly after the Senate votes at around 7:30 Saturday morning to clear a Defense spending bill." The Majority Leader's amendment will include proposed changes designed "to secure the votes of 60 Democratic senators for the healthcare bill. The amendment may include a compromise on abortion language, a sticking point for centrist Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)."
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the timing -- Saturday morning -- for unveiling of Reid's amendment was necessary in order to "file a motion to cut of a GOP filibuster on Saturday morning to set up a preliminary vote at 1 a.m. Monday. Lawmakers must vote early Monday to cut off debate on Reid's amendment if they are to stick to a timeline that would set a final vote on the healthcare bill after 7 pm on Christmas Eve" (Bolton, 12/18).
The Associated Press: "Republicans threatened to delay Senate business with a health care read-a-thon this weekend, as Democrats kept searching for 60 votes to advance President Barack Obama's signature issue and a forecast of heavy snow added to the list of complications. At a news conference Friday in the Capitol, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., accused Democrats of trying to ram the health care bill through with dozens of changes as yet unseen, and promised to do everything in their power to prevent it." Democrats continued to pursue the 60 votes needed to "overcome unanimous Republican opposition" -- their main target continued to be the lone Democratic holdout, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. "Meanwhile, as the weather forecast called for up 20 inches of snow in a city easily paralyzed by much less, senators were put on notice they could be needed to vote on procedural questions before 8 a.m. EST Saturday." And Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to release a package of amendments that could tally hundreds of pages (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.