Welcome to the liveblog on the House of Representative’s health insurance reform vote live on C-Span). Whether you support the bill or opposite it, whether the bill passes or doesn’t this is a historic vote.
If a potential deal is struck with the Stupak bloc and the “pro-choice” caucus does not bolt, there would seem to be little standing in the way of the bills final passage.
CBS News has a preliminary schedule as of last night:
2 p.m.: The House will debate for one hour the rules of debate for the reconciliation bill and the Senate bill.
3 p.m.: The House will vote to end debate and vote on the rules of the debate.
3:15 p.m.: The House will debate the reconciliation package for two hours.
5:15 p.m.: The House will vote on the reconciliation package.
5:30 p.m.: The House will debate for 15 minutes on a Republican substitute and then vote on the substitute.
6 p.m.: The House will vote on the final reconciliation package.
6:15 p.m.: If the reconciliation bill passes, the House will immediately vote on the Senate bill, without debate.
Expect Democrats to deliver floor speeches about how this bill is the best piece of legislation ever and expect Republicans to talk about how it is the end of our nation as we know it.
Yesterday Republicans introduced three amendments regarding the individual mandate, so expect much of their focus to be on that. Although these amendments have no chance of being allowed onto the floor for a vote, they do give some insight insight into what the upcoming GOP campaign against the bill will be in the midterm election.
The liveblog will be mainly focused on statements in support or opposition from previously undecided Democrats, Republican statements which might probably form the basis of attack ads in the midterm, and of course the series of procedural votes.
2:00 pm – Happening right now is are votes on matters unrelated to health care. This allows the Democrats to make sure all their members are in the chamber and gives the whip a final chance to make sure the votes are locked down. As always it looks like Congress is going to run a little behind schedule.
2:13 pm – The debate on health care reform has finally began.
2:17 pm – Rep. Paul Ryan (R) begins by raising a point of order related to the large number of “unfunded” mandates in the bill. Ryan’s talking point mandates, mandates, mandates!
2:27 pm – Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), son of Ted Kennedy, ask the chamber to support this health care reform bill in memory of Ted Kennedy. He compares fight to universal health care to civil rights.
2:40 pm – Paul Ryan makes completely absurd statement that we are setting up the same bureaucracies that they have in Britain’s actual socialized health care system. If we actually do that our health care cost would be cut by more than 50%.
2:42 pm – They are now voting on Ryan’s point of order if it did pass it would kill the bill. Expect this vote to closely mirror, but not be identical, to the final vote on the bill.
3:03 pm – The point of order failed with 228 voting with the Democrats.
3:07 pm – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) offered a motion to recommit the bill to remove the earmarks. Not surprisingly “earmarks” have been a big Republican talking point against the bill.
3:10 pm – Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) makes the point that most of the state specific deals in the health care bill will be removed by the reconciliation measure.
3:18 pm – Dale Kildee (D-MI) said he is confident that the Senate bill as written would not use federal money to fund abortion. (He is of course entirely correct regardless what Stupak says.)
3:24 pm – Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) is falsely claiming that the Senate bill would spend massive amounts of federal money on abortion. He claims “abortion is not health care.”
3:28 pm – CNN is reporting that a Stupak press conference will take place at 4 pm. If Stupak’s bloc decides to vote in mass for the bill it will pass baring a large revolt from pro-choice Democrats. (Just imagine of progressive had held firm on their demands for a public option like the Stupak bloc did.)
3:34 pm – Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) got into a bit of a yelling match with Slaughter making the point that at the end of today only the Senate bill will become law with all its special deals. They special deals will only be taken out when the reconciliation bill passed the House and the Senate. Expect Democrats to be attacked by Republicans in the midterm for voting for the special deals in the Senate bill.
3:40 pm – This is some really slow walking and lack of decorum from the Republicans. Jesse Jackson Jr. is doing a good job as chair handling dozens of parliamentary inquiries.
3:34 pm – A 15 minute vote on the point of order on earmarks is now taking place.