Hoyer: House Could Be In Session Until Late December
Roll Call reports on the changing House calendar. "'As action on health insurance reform legislation moves to the Senate, the House is updating its schedule for November and December to reflect that, and to ensure there is time to complete our work on other important issues,' [House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer said in a statement." Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has kept open "the possibility of working on Saturday, Nov. 21, the weekend before the Thanksgiving recess. Both chambers are scheduled to be in recess the following week for the Thanksgiving holiday, observed Nov. 26" (Brady, 11/11).
Politico: "The House will be in session for 21 more days in 2009, putting in a couple of five-day workweeks as Democrats rush to finish their heavy legislative agenda before the Christmas holiday." And the Senate? Majority Leader Reid "has said he wants to get the bill to the president by the end of the year, but that would require working on Saturdays, something the body is hardly anxious to do" (Sherman, 11/11).
Hoyer today said "he is prepared to extend the House healthcare schedule into late December in order to pass healthcare reform," The Hill reports. "Hoyer's move follows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) decision late Tuesday night to file a motion that could allow the Senate to begin debate on healthcare next week." The actions by both leaders are likely part of the effort to meet the White House's year-end deadline for a health care bill.
Reid is currently waiting for the Congressional Budget Office's cost estimates of the bill, which are expected by the end of the week. But he has also signaled a willingness to begin the process before he has this analysis in hand. In terms of the procedural vote on the motion to bring the bill to the floor, success will require 60 votes, which will be an early test to Democratic unity. And "Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) have both warned Democrats that they will target any senators who support procedural votes on the bill, and McConnell has indicated he'll do everything possible to slow the healthcare bill's movement" (Fabian and Swanson, 11/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.