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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Despite Cloture Win, ObamaCare Still has a Long Way to Go to Become Reality - Step by Step

Democrats succeeded tonight in winning the first cloture vote on the Senate Health Care Bill which allows it to move forward to a debate / amendment phase. But Martin Gold and Tom Curry spell out just how far "ObamaCare" has to go before it becomes a reality. It's a longer road than I understood, and than you may think:

With the Senate having approved a motion to proceed to debate on the health insurance overhaul, legislation is still far from being signed into law. Here's what happens next:

Step 1
Senators debate the bill and offer amendments to change or remove provisions they oppose, or to add provisions.

Step 2
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may come to an agreement on the number of amendments to be offered and the time allocated for debate.

If they don't reach an accord, Reid may use parliamentary devices to limit the number of amendments.

In 2008, Reid used a procedural tactic called "filling the tree" more than 20 times to block Republican amendments.

Step 3
Senate rules allow for unlimited debate in most cases.

Prolonged debate in order to force changes in a bill or to scuttle a bill is called a "filibuster."

Step 4
The Senate votes on a motion to bring debate to an end. This is called "invoking cloture."

If three-fifths of the senators (60 senators) vote for the cloture motion, debate must last no more than an additional 30 hours.

Step 5 - COMPLETED 12/24/09

The Senate votes on final passage of its bill. A simple majority is sufficient to pass the bill.

Step 6
House and Senate leaders meet to resolve differences between the bill passed by the House and the one passed by the Senate.

Step 7
House and Senate leaders appoint a conference committee of several members from each body to reconcile the two bills.

Important bills are frequently rewritten in conference, or killed because the conferees fail to settle their differences.

Meetings of the conference committee are often secret.

Step 8
Senators opposed to the bill may filibuster the motion to create a conference committee.

A cloture vote would be needed to stop the filibuster.

Step 9
If the conferees resolve their differences, they issue what is called a "conference report" -- the final version of the legislation.

Step 10
The conference report is debated in the House and in the Senate. It cannot be amended.

Step 11
Senators opposed to the conference report can filibuster it.
A cloture vote would be needed to stop the filibuster.

Step 12

In the House, Republican members opposed to the conference report can offer a "motion to re-commit," essentially one last-chance vote to kill or amend the bill.

Step 13
Each chamber votes on approval of the conference report.
If approved, the legislation goes to the president for his signature or veto.


Blind Eye Jones,  November 21, 2009 at 11:42 PM  

In the future kids will be wearing Obama T- shirts like they wear Che T- shirts. It will be cool. Why? Because that's all the clothes they can afford to wear due the debt.

cartucho r4i November 22, 2009 at 2:57 AM  

I have to admit that yesterday I thought it would be practically over if we lost this cloture vote tonight. But seeing the long process still ahead, there could be as many as three more cloture votes before Obama could sign ObamaCare into law. Two of those would come even after the Senate passed a bill.

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