In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Dems Prepare To Kick Off Final Health Care Debate


After the 20 hours are over, the Senate will have to dispense with amendment after amendment in a process called vote-a-rama. Democrats say they expect Republicans to offer tons. Most will be poison pills and wedge issues. But some, they say, might be on issues Democrats support--SCHIP, for instance--hoping Democrats will vote their conscience. The strategy, in short, is to change the bill as much as possible, to increase the chances that it can't pass the House again.

As Josh notes, there's some reason to think these Republican threats are bluster, and that the process will actually go more smoothly than expected. But already the Republicans are taking steps to gum up the works. At a meeting with Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin, Republican staffers argued that a provision in the reconciliation bill that amends the health care bill's excise tax should be ruled out of order for violating the Byrd rule. Democrats argued their side of the story and Frumin is expected to weigh in later today.

We'll soon know whether this is the exception or the rule in this process.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at