–Senate Majority Leader: Dems Ready To Begin Vote-a-Rama On Health Bill
–Republicans Prepare Raft of Substantive and Political Amendments

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday
said that Democrats are ready to yield back all of their allocated time
to debate health care reform and begin considering a raft of Republican
amendments to change the bill.

In brief comments on the Senate floor, Reid said he is prepared to
yield back more than seven hours of debate time and begin voting on

Reid said that he expects the Senate’s lengthy amendment voting
process — dubbed vote-a-rama — to “begin sometime this afternoon.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed vigorous
resistance to the health care reconciliation bill and his fellow
Republicans have drafted hundreds of amendments — some of which they
will offer — to change the reconciliation bill.

These amendments range from the substantive, such as eliminating
cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, to the transparently political
such as preventing coverage of Viagra for convicted child molesters.

Republicans will also lodge points of order against provisions in
the bill, which if sustained, would remove these provisions from the

The reconciliation bill makes a number of “fixes” to the
comprehensive health care bill that President Obama signed Tuesday.

If the Senate passes the reconciliation bill without any changes,
it goes to Obama for his signature. But if the legislation is altered at
all, it must be sent back to the House for its consideration.

Under Senate rules, reconciliation bills are limited to 20 hours of
debate and all amendments must be germane to the bill.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that if the
reconciliation bill which the House approved Sunday is changed, the
House will vote on the altered bill very soon.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **

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