The Senate is set to begin debate on its health-overhaul bill Monday, with Democrats and Republicans planning to offer amendments on divisive subjects such as abortion and taxes that could hamper passage of the bill.
The debate is expected to last at least several weeks. Democrats would like to pass a bill by Christmas, but have yet to find a formula that can win 60 votes, the number required to conclude debate.
Complicating the situation, lawmakers from both parties are planning to introduce dozens of amendments, addressing issues from a government-run health-care plan to medical malpractice lawsuits to abortion and taxes. The aim isn't just to shape the bill but also to make political points.
Any of the amendments will also likely require 60 votes to pass, because opponents can threaten to filibuster any amendment that has less support. That sets a high bar, but even unsuccessful amendments can send a message.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), for example, is expected to offer an amendment to insert tough abortion restrictions in the bill, mirroring language in the bill that narrowly passed the House Nov. 7. Republicans are also likely to offer at least one amendment limiting medical malpractice lawsuits.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Orrin Hatch to Introduce Abortion Amendment to Healthcare Bill
The Senate begins debate on healthcare tomorrow. Both republicans and democrats will be offering amendments. If healthcare passes, Harry Reid is the King. If it's going to pass, there has to be a lot of give and take.