Dem Leaders Eye Dec. 18 To End Congressional Session And Still Await CBO Figures
Politico: "Senate and House leaders are hoping to close up shop for the year by Dec. 18, even though neither chamber has figured out the end game for health care reform and must-pass appropriations bills." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday that both he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are targeting that day 18 as "a last day for this session of Congress." This shared focus, though, is complicated by the ongoing challenges associated with health reform legislation among other to-do items. Meanwhile, "[t]he Senate ... will begin wrestling with its version of health-care overhaul legislation this week and will likely need to push full-steam ahead to finish by the Hoyer and Reid's target adjournment date" (Sherman, 11/17).
Roll Call: Reid "on Tuesday predicted Senate Democrats would get rave reviews for their forthcoming health care reform bill, even as he continues to wait for the official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office." He was vague about when he was prepared to unveil the measure, but told reporters this afternoon, according to Roll Call, "that he would introduce a bill 'in a little while.' Democratic aides said Reid still expects the CBO score to be finalized sometime Tuesday" (Pierce, 11/17).
Roll Call: In other health overhaul news, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a leading proponent of the public insurance option, today rejected the idea the Senate use "filibuster-busting reconciliation rules to bypass opposition from Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and all 40 Republicans to a Democratic health care reform bill."
"'Reconciliation is a nonstarter,' he said. 'It doesn't work. ... It opens itself up to an endless, unstoppable number of amendments.'" Reconciliation would allow Democrats "to pass a health care overhaul with a simple majority" and this route may be "the only one that would yield a public insurance option if Lieberman and Republicans follow through on a threat to filibuster any bill that includes one" (Dennis, 11/17).
And The Hill reports on comments made Monday by Sen. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., that Senate Democrats would prevail in winning the 60 votes needed to pass healthcare reform with a public plan. "'My guess is, they'll be able to pass something, and it will be very, very expensive and add a lot to our debt,' the New Hampshire Republican [told CNBC last night], noting that Democrats are likely to allege the bill is 'paid for (but) most of the pay-fors will never come to' fruition" (Romm, 11/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.