Health Care Bill Voting Today: What It Isn't
While Sen. Harry Reid has 60 votes for tonight's vote, you have to read the fine print to know what it means and doesn't mean. It's not a vote on the health care bill, but only a vote on whether debate can begin on it.
[T]his vote simply says that the Senate is prepared to have a debate on the bill. From here, the bill will be discussed and possibly amended. Then Reid must find another sixty votes to end the debate, and then he'll need at least 51 Senators who want to vote the final product up. Clearly his work is far from over.
If Republicans stay unified in opposition to the bill, Reid would need the support of all 58 Senate Democrats as well as independent Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to overcome a filibuster.
In other words,
The legislative game is just beginning. Expect several weeks of amendments being introduced, impassioned debates on the Senate floor and news conferences for and against the proceedings.
If the Senate manages to pass a bill, a congressional conference committee would need to merge the House and Senate proposals into a consensus version requiring final approval from each chamber before moving to President Obama's desk to be signed into law.
Debate on the actual bill isn't expected until after Thanksgiving. I agree with BTD that today's proceedings are pretty much a waste of time.
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