Next Steps: How The Health Bill Could Move Forward

Democrats are still wrangling support for the health bill in the House, but leading Democrats say it could pass the House as soon as this coming weekend. Here's a look at the steps needed to move the bill forward:

Monday, March 15: House Budget Committee Meets

— This meeting is largely a formality.

— House Budget Committee marks up a "shell" health bill (which will be replaced by the real reconciliation bill) and sends it to the House Rules Committee.

— Budget Committee may not make substantive changes to the bill, but it can make recommendations to the Rules Committee, which will develop the reconciliation bill.

— At least 48 hours must pass between the Budget Committee's completing its markup and the Rules Committee's taking up a bill.

— Monday afternoon or Tuesday, the CBO may release the cost estimates for the real reconciliation bill.

Likely Thursday, March 18: House Committee On Rules Meets

— The bill gets put together: the Rules Committee writes a reconciliation bill, possibly incorporating the ideas recommended by the Budget Committee, and replacing the shell bill the Budget Committee is expected to have approved Monday.

— House Dems will attempt to pass the Senate health bill at the same time the House approves the rule for debate on the reconciliation bill.

End Of The Week/Weekend: House Could Vote

— When the House leadership thinks it has the votes together, it will schedule the reconciliation vote on the House floor. This may be as early as Thursday, more likely Friday or Saturday.

Possibly Next Week

— If the House succeeds in passing the reconciliation bill, it goes to the Senate. The Senate parliamentarian may require the reconciliation bill to go through committee markups.

Then What?

— If the Senate passes the House reconciliation bill with no changes, it goes to the president for signature. If the Senate makes any changes, the bill must go back to the House again for approval. The Senate is likely to vote on the bill late next week.

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