As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Under The Wire

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed out their health care bill by a bare margin, 31-28, as the Blue Dog deal held and the set of amended amendments that progressives demanded return to the bill got put in place as well.

In an unusual move before the final vote, Waxman halted the markup to have a closed-door meeting with Democrats on his panel – presumably to make sure he had the votes to pass the bill.

The final vote was 31-28, with five Democrats opposing the measure. Democrats who voted no were Reps. Rick Boucher (Va.), Bart Stupak (Mich.), Jim Matheson (Utah), John Barrow (Ga.) and Charles Melancon (La.). All Republicans rejected the bill [...]

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Friday that some of the most hard-fought provisions of the healthcare bill -- including parts meant to appease conservative Democrats -- could change by the time the final measure reaches the House floor.

"I have three chairmen to deal with," Pelosi said. "We have three committees that have to look at it."

As it turns out, the committee has about 60 or so amendments left to deal with, but they couldn't eat one day into their summer break, so they'll clean that up when they get back, apparently. How the Speaker can merge the bills together while 60 amendments sit in one committee before a vote is tricky, but fortunately nobody understands the details of this stuff anyway. The best practice would actually be for one large committee, perhaps an ad hoc committee, to deal with legislation of this type, even if it's big.

Anyway, it looks like progress, and I have no doubts that the House will vote on a decent enough bill when they get back from the recess. The success of it will be determined by the resolve of the Democratic caucus and the success of efforts to convince lawmakers when they are home in their districts.

...Amendments and roll call votes available here.

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