President Barack Obama’s push for a sweeping health care overhaul edged closer to a major victory in the Senate Finance Committee. Early next week, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on final passage on the “Vapor Bill” being debated and marked up in Committee. The term “Vapor Bill” is used to describe the legislation, because the Senate Finance Committee has been debating the outline of a bill and not actual bill text in Committee. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered an amendment to allow a reading of the bill for 72 hours before final passage, so that members could read the bill they were voting upon, yet liberals in the committee blocked this amendment. We have mapped out one scenario for Senate consideration before, but we now have more details on the secret plan to pass Obamacare.
The Senate floor debate on health legislation could start as early as next week, but more likely they will consider Obamacare starting on October 13th. The Senate Finance Committee has been held up and will not have a final vote on the Committee bill until next Tuesday, therefore the Senate will have to wait another week before the debate starts.
Here is what we know. Sources on K Street and on Capitol Hill have confirmed the following scenario:
- Senate staffers from the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee) are in the process of writing the bill RIGHT NOW that the Senate will consider the second full week of October;
- Senator Reid will have to move to proceed to a House passed tax measure to avoid a “Blue Slip” problem. The term blue slip describes the procedure the House uses to stop the Senate from originating a tax bill. The Constitution states “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” The House passed tax measures that are on the Senate Calendar are as follows:
- H.R. 1664 The AIG Bonus Bill;
- H.R. 2751 A tax bill promoting fuel efficient cars;
- H.R. 2454 House passed Global Warming bill; and,
- Any other tax measure that comes from the House in the next few days.
- Senator Reid uses all the procedural tactics in his toolbox to shut down debate and control the Amendment process to get this Senate debate completed by the end of October. They can add the Public Option as an amendment on the Senate floor with a simple majority if they have the will.
Our sources further tell us that moderate Democrats are experiencing heartburn over the cost aspect of the bill. If the bill gets a big score from the Congressional Budget Office, moderate Democrats in the Senate are going to rebel. Also, the “Read the Bill” movement in the heartland is having an effect inside the halls of the Capitol. This bill is going to come back over to the House and they are going to have to consider taking up and passing the Senate passed bill or bounce it back to the House. Worst case scenario, a bill may be on the President’s desk by November 1st, because the House will have the opportunity to take up and pass the Senate passed bill to get it to the President.