Sixty votes for health care

December 21st, 2009

With no votes to spare, HR 3590 — the Senate’s version of health care reform legislation — has passed the first of several crucial cloture votes. It is expected that the remaining procedural votes will pass with the same 60 senators voting aye.

Again, this isn’t the finish line. There are vast differences between this bill and HR 3200, the House’s reform bill, and they will be reconciled in knock-down, drag-out fashion in conference committee.

The official title of HR 3590 is “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.” But don’t be fooled; it’s the health care bill. GovTrack explains:

This is the Senate’s health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Senate is co-opting this bill as a vehicle for passage of their reform and will change the text of this unrelated bill in whole in the coming weeks. They do this because the Constitution requires all revenue bills to start in the House, and their health reform plan involves revenue. So they have chosen to work off of a bill that started in the House, even if that bill is unrelated.

A bit of a parliamentary hack, wouldn’t you say? Until just now, the bill bore its original confusing title on this site. But I’ve just changed it to “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the title that OpenCongress uses.

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