House Left Unfinished Business When It Left For The August Break
House members left Washington last week with some unfinished business: 55 to 60 pending amendments in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which became the last of three House panels to report its version of the health care overhaul late Friday night, Congress Daily reports. Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and his Republican counterpart agreed to a process that will require the committee to vote on some of the remaining amendments at a markup session when they return in September. The amendments will be "passed out of the committee and added to the larger bill likely in the Rules Committee."
"The procedure, while unusual, will not extensively complicate the passage of health legislation because the Rules Committee already has to merge the Energy and Commerce bill with two other versions, one from the House Ways and Means Committee and the other from the House Education and Labor Committee. Adding a fourth piece of legislation -- the second bill from Energy and Commerce -- will be a comparative drop in the bucket" (Hunt, 8/6).
Meanwhile, "House Republicans are finding that less is more when it comes to talking about their own proposals for reforming the health care system," Roll Call reports. Senior Republicans promised a forthcoming bill when they provided an outline in June, but none has yet been released. The apparent calculus is that keeping it "under wraps is better politically than releasing details that would give Democrats room for a counterattack." Shrinking support for Democrat's proposals suggests the strategy is working (Dennis, 8/6).