Senate Republicans Force Reconciliation Bill Back To The House

The American people were once again treated to the sight of the obstructionist Republicans dragging their feet and playing party politics with the people's business - on a bill that's constructed mostly with Republican ideas.

I wonder if this means Sen. Michael Bennet will bring up the public option amendment he promised?

Senate Republicans have successfully identified two minor violations of reconciliation rules in the final piece of the health-care package. The violations will force the Senate to change the reconciliation bill and ship it to the House of Representatives for final passage.

But Democratic leaders said the provisions that will be struck -- from the part of the bill dealing with Pell Grants for college students -- do not significantly affect the student loan program or the health care bill overall.

The corrected legislation most likely will not be subjected to additional challenges when it is sent back to the House, Democratic staffers said, and is expected to receive final approval before the weekend.

"The parliamentarian struck two minor provisions tonight from in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. But this bill's passage in the Senate is a big win for the American people," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

For much of Wednesday and into Thursday morning, Senate Republicans offered dozens of amendments to the bill President Obama signed into law Tuesday. Their goal was to force the legislation that will launch an overhaul of the nation's health-care system back to the House for another vote. But when the Senate began voting shortly after 5 p.m., all 29 amendments were easily rejected.

That means the health-care package survived essentially intact, save for the deletion of the two clauses in the reconciliation bill that were found to violate reconciliation rules, the complicated set of procedures that protected the bill from filibuster.

A senior Democratic aide said one of the problematic items is a "hold-harmless provision," which was designed to prevent reductions in individual student grants if appropriated funds for Pell Grants declines. The second adjustment was described as "a conforming change, to strike obsolete language."


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