After more than a year of often bitter political wrangling that cast partisan differences into unyielding concrete, House Democrats were expected to have enough votes to pass the Senate version of healthcare and a reconciliation package of amendments...I hope the Democrats who have pledged to vote in favor of the legislation follow through and I hope that those who are on the fence come around. Things have been run "their way" for decades, and things have only gotten worse. The Republicans had many years to pass reform but instead opted for the status quo, and continue to insist that waiting won't hurt Americans, even as health care costs have ballooned over the past two decades and premium rate hikes are expected in California. The time to act is now. Costs have already risen exponentially, but the GOP wants to approach the problem in a linear fashion, much like their approach to other issues, such as global warming, but in the end, if Republicans get their way, it would be too late and it would be the Republican's policy that would bankrupt America.
House Democrats expect to hold three votes Sunday. The first is to accept the formal rule that describes the time and terms of debate. That will be followed by an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill, and then by the package of amendments, House leaders say.
If passed, the Senate bill would go to Obama for his signature and the amendments would go to the Senate, where Democratic leaders say they have the 51 votes needed for passage. If the Senate passes the amendments, that too, goes to Obama for his signature to become law.
In the policy debate, Republicans will likely stress their core arguments: that the bill is too expensive and broadens government powers too much. They will argue that the majority Democrats have rammed the bill through, avoiding GOP policy suggestions.
Democrats accuse the Republicans of refusing to negotiate on the bills in order to hand Obama a major political defeat. Democrats also say they have incorporated some Republican suggestions into the final legislation.
I hope legislation is passed today. I hope the teabaggers are defeated this Sunday. I hope for the best, but unfortunately, I am always braced for the worst.