Federal Issues | Health Care Reform

View from Washington, D.C.:
Long, bumpy road ahead

By John McClelland
ARA vice president, Government Affairs

On Nov. 7, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962 by a vote of 220-215 in a rare Saturday session. The U.S. Senate, where Democrats have a supposed 60-vote “filibuster proof” majority, will next consider its own version of a health care reform bill. So what does the Senate bill look like? Nobody knows. After weeks behind closed doors, Democratic leaders in the Senate have not unveiled their health care reform bill, which is supposed to be a “marriage” between the bills passed by the Senate Finance Committee and the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. With senators like Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) saying they will vote against a bill containing a public insurance option and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) demanding tough anti-abortion language similar to that included in the amended House bill, nobody is willing to speculate about what will be in the bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will ultimately try to bring to the Senate floor.

There is one thing we can count on — whatever Sen. Reid brings to the floor will almost certainly be changed through a series of amendments that are sure to be offered by senators from both sides of the aisle. For those who can’t get enough of the political process, the next several weeks, or even months, will be packed with action. Look for all sorts of strategies, compromises and deals to come and go throughout the process. There is only one goal in mind — get 60 votes on final passage. Before that vote can be cast, however, there will be many more votes. So hold on to your hats, it is going to be a bumpy ride for health care. Stay tuned to RentalPulse for the latest information on the debate and ways you can make a difference by taking action.


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