Daily Tax Update - March 11, 2010

PELOSI CANCELS ALL HOUSE HEARINGS TODAY TO STRATEGIZE ON HEALTH CARE REFORM: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered all committee chairmen to postpone their hearings today so she could meet with Democrats to continue strategizing and gathering support for health care reform. Yesterday, Pelosi said, “Decision time is here, and that's it.” Pelosi added, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

  • The Administration wants to remove the “sweetheart” deals in the Senate health bill. Pelosi downplayed the Administration’s March 18 target date for passage. Pelosi said that "March 18 is an interesting date. Our clock starts ticking when we get the final CBO report. We don't have the final report yet but we have a pretty good idea of where we are going on it."
  • The House wants to bring the Senate-passed health bill up under reconciliation procedures, despite strenuous objections from Republicans. Both chambers then would pass a second bill immediately, and make changes in the second bill. The second bill would be debated under reconciliation rules that bar a filibuster, thus only requiring a majority vote in the Senate instead of 60 votes.
  • However, it was reported this afternoon that the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that President Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package.
  • In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “Reconciliation is designed to deal with budget-related matters, and some have expressed doubt that it could be used for comprehensive health care reform that includes many policies with no budget implications. But the reconciliation bill now under consideration would not be the vehicle for comprehensive reform — that bill already passed outside of reconciliation with 60 votes.” Reid added, “Reconciliation will not exclude Republicans from the legislative process. You will continue to have an opportunity to offer amendments and change the shape of the legislation. In addition, at the end of the process, the bill can pass only if it wins a democratic, up-or-down majority vote. If Republicans want to vote against a bill that reduces health care costs, fills the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ for seniors and reduces the deficit, you will have every right to do so.”
  • Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said, “Nobody likes the bill that is out there now. They are all going fix it, except that they are not going to be able to fix it. That's our point. So they shouldn't vote for a bill that they think is going to get fixed, because it isn't going to.”

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