Democrats say the health bill decision will come Sunday in the House. But critics say that President Obama’s decision to put off a scheduled Asian trip until later in the year is a sign that the votes are not there yet.
Meanwhile, Congressman Gresham Barrett has co-sponsored a resolution that would require an up or down vote on the Senate-passed health care bill. Democrats want to use the Slaughter Rule, that would allow the House to “deem” both the Senate bill and sidecar bills as passed, since the bill passed once before, avoiding a true up or down vote.
Barrett spoke from the floor briefly Thursday calling for an open vote.
(Barrett on House floor MP3 1:28)
Barrett on House floor
In a press release Barrett said, “While Democrats’ may publicly push a transparency initiative for Congress, they are still attempting to keep the Americans in the dark on health care reform through closed door processes, sweetheart deals and legislative trickery.”
If Democrats keep their promise of posting the bill 72 hours before a vote, the House would take up the Senate bill Sunday at the earliest, and it would follow up with another vote on changes that would make the legislation more acceptable to House Democrats. The Senate would vote to approve those changes by a simple majority vote.
Congressman Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip largely responsible for securing votes, said Thursday he was excited about figures from the Congressional Budget Office(or CBO) which say that the health care bill in the House would cut away $130 billion of the federal deficit over the next decade. The health care overhaul bill would restructure about a sixth of the nation’s economy. But Barrett says the real point is that the CBO estimate that the plan will cost $940 billion is not painting a realistic picture.
“I think that is grossly, grossly underestimated. The last time the CBO came out with a similar figure, outside analysts said that the plan would cost $2 trillion or better. When it’s all said and done, $940 won’t scratch the surface.”