What’s next for the Senate health care bill?
Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) — The unveiling of Senate Republicans’ “discussion draft” bill to replace Obamacare sets off a series of procedural events that will culminate in a vote, according to Senate Republican staffers.
First, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will analyze the bill’s budgetary impact and release a report on its real-world effects.
According to the CBO, the House health bill would leave 23 million more uninsured than current law. The CBO announced Thursday that it would release its “score” for the Senate measure early next week.
As senators await the score, they will continue to discuss the draft, with many of them wanting to make tweaks to it.
Once the score is released, the Senate parliamentarian will begin working with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, to determine whether the legislation complies with the rules of reconciliation, which would allow it to pass with a simple majority and avoid the filibuster.
At some point, McConnell will bring the bill to the floor.
The bill’s arrival on the floor sets off a 20-hour window for debate, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. This can be used however members want, including offering amendments and making motions related to the bill.
When that time is expired, the Senate goes into a “vote-a-rama” in which members can offer amendments with short or no debate. That can continue, according to one official, “until a state of exhaustion sets in.”
The next step is for the Senate to decide to move to final passage and vote. By this time, McConnell will have needed to round up at least 50 of his 52 Republicans to pass the bill.
Traditionally, when one chamber passes a different version of the bill, the two are reconciled in a conference committee. But in this case, the fate of the Senate bill past its own chamber is unknown.
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