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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Byrd Rule To Send Health Care Back To House, Rules Parliamentarian

Not tonight

Senate Republicans succeeded early Thursday morning in finding two flaws in the House-passed Health Care reconciliation package. Neither is of any substance, but the Senate parliamentarian informed Democratic leaders that both are in violation of the Byrd Rule.
One is related to Pell Grants and the other makes small technical corrections. Why they're in violation of the Byrd Rule doesn't matter; the upshot is that Republicans will succeed in at least slightly altering the legislation, which means that the House is once again required to vote on it. With no substantial changes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should have little problem assembling the same coalition of 220 Democrats who passed the measure Sunday night.
After the Parliamentarian Alan Frumin had advised the leadership of his ruling, the Democratic and Republican leaders huddled on the Senate floor and agreed to adjourn until 9:45 a.m.
Shortly after 2:30 a.m., Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), sitting in the presiding officer's chair, asked if there was any objection to the adjournment. "I guess we're adjourned," said a punch-drunk Franken, hearing none.
"The Parliamentarian struck two minor provisions tonight from the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, but this bill's passage in the Senate is still a big win for the American people. These changes do not impact the reforms to the student loan programs and the important investments in education. We are confident the House will quickly pass the bill with these minor changes," said a statement from Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
The bill, however, has yet to pass through the Senate. It will be taken up again Thursday morning. If no further problems are found by the parliamentarian, it can be sent to the House for an immediate vote.
There is no indication that Democrats intend to send Vice President Joe Biden to the Senate chair to overrule the parliamentarian. LinkHere



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