THE TREATMENT MARCH 2, 2010
Inside Health Policy's Julian Pecquet and Amy Lotven report on a Democratic memo sketching out a timeline for passage of health care reform. The gist is pretty simple: The House takes up the Senate bill and passed it by March 19. A few days later it passes a reconciliation bill and sends it over to the Senate, which starts the voting process on March 26.
It's a "process" because, even though the reconciliation process limits debate to 20 hours, it doesn't limit amendments. And Republicans have warned they plan to introduce an amendment, forcing Democrats to take difficult votes, for as long as they can.
Majority Leader Harry Reid undoubtedly hopes that the timing will offer Republicans incentive to drop the stunt, since the longer they prolong debate the more they eat into Easter recess--assuming, of course, Democrats can get the reconciliation bill to the Senate before the recess begins. (Via Politico.)
One thing to keep in mind: While this memo is consistent with what a lot of insiders have been saying lately, everything remains in flux. Obama hasn't even put forward his final compromise proposal, let alone get sign-off from the House and Senate. And if the proposals themselves aren't fixed yet, it's safe to assume the timelines aren't either.