Obama To Sign Senate Health Reform Bill Tuesday
President Obama will sign the Senate health care reform bill on Tuesday "aides said, in an effort to build momentum for the Senate to complete its fixes on the legislation," The New York Times reports. "The ceremony, scheduled to take place on the White House South Lawn, is expected to include members of Congress, doctors and nurses and ordinary Americans who will benefit from the bill" (Zeleny, 3/22).
The Washington Post: The Senate will begin its work as soon as Obama signs the Senate bill, "said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). The debate will be limited to 20 hours and likely will end early Thursday, Manley said. Then begins a series of votes on amendments, a process with no time limit but that allows for just one minute between votes." Senate Democrat leaders don't know how long the voting will last, though many still expect to leave for Easter recess on time beginning Saturday. In addition, "(t)he legislation is certain to be a major element of the midterm election campaign season. Obama plans to travel Thursday to Iowa City, Iowa, to underscore the bill's immediate effects" (Murray, Montgomery and Wilson, 3/22).
Roll Call: "Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) both announced plans to introduce bills to repeal what they referred to as 'Obamacare.' DeMint vowed to file legislation this week; King didn't say when to expect his proposal. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) warned that Democrats who voted for the overhaul are in store for tough political consequences in the midterm elections. 'We're going to try to repeal this, and we are going to have a very spirited campaign coming up between now and November. And there will be a very heavy price to pay for it,' McCain said Monday on 'Good Morning America'" (Bendery, 3/22).
Politico Live Pulse, in a separate story, reports on Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., announcement that she will not support the reconciliation bill. "She has been threatening for weeks to oppose the measure, saying she did not favor using reconciliation to pass it. But she has also said she wanted to take a look at the bill. 'The Reconciliation package devised by the House includes matters unrelated to health care and employs a legislative process that wasn't subject to the same transparency and thorough debate that we used in the Senate. I cannot support this process,'" Lincoln wrote in a statement released Sunday (Shiner, 3/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.