PDA

View Full Version : Reconciliation



nautiguy
12-20-2009, 01:09 AM
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if memory serves, after a committee from the House of Representatives and the Senate agree on compromise health legislation the bill will be submitted to both houses for an up or down vote with no opportunity for further amendments.
If I'm right, and both houses are bound by simple majority votes, what are the chances that some of the more restrictive amendments that conservative democrats insisted on will fall by the wayside and the final bill will have a more progressive (closer to the House version) tilt?

perldog007
12-20-2009, 10:34 AM
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if memory serves, after a committee from the House of Representatives and the Senate agree on compromise health legislation the bill will be submitted to both houses for an up or down vote with no opportunity for further amendments.
If I'm right, and both houses are bound by simple majority votes, what are the chances that some of the more restrictive amendments that conservative democrats insisted on will fall by the wayside and the final bill will have a more progressive (closer to the House version) tilt?

I believe the final version is still subject to filibuster in the Senate. Perhaps somebody with more edumakayshun can correct me on that point?

BrianW
12-20-2009, 05:20 PM
51 votes from what I understand.

I assume there are other ways to mess with the process.

C. Ross
12-20-2009, 05:37 PM
The final bill comes to the House and Senate as a "conference report" for a vote. The conference report cannot be amended, but there are a number of procedural options available, with both houses having slightly different rules.

In the Senate the bill can be filibustered, it can be approved, returned to the conference committee, or rejected outright.

Though it requires 60 votes to break cloture, the final vote needs only be a majority of Senators and Representatives who actually vote.

nautiguy
12-20-2009, 06:37 PM
C seems to have the answer.
Here is a citation from Wikipedia:

Most times, the conference committee produces a conference report (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conference_report) melding the work of the House and Senate. A conference report proposes legislative language as an amendment to the bill committed to conference. And the conference report also includes a joint explanatory statement of the conference committee. This explanatory statement provides one of the best sources of legislative history on the bill. (See, e.g., Simpson v. United States, 435 U.S. 6, 17-18 (1978) (Rehnquist, dissenting).)
Once a bill has been passed by a conference committee, it goes directly to the floor of both houses for a vote, and is not open to further amendment. In the first house to consider the conference, a Member may move to recommit the bill to the conference committee. But once the first house has passed the conference report, the conference committee is dissolved, and the second house to act can no longer recommit the bill to conference.
Conference reports are privileged. And in the Senate, a motion to proceed to a conference report is not debatable, although Senators can generally filibuster (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filibuster) the conference report itself. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Budget_and_Impoundment_Control_Act_o f_1974) limits debate on conference reports on budget resolutions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_resolution) and budget reconciliation bills (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconciliation_%28Senate%29) to 10 hours in the Senate, so Senators cannot filibuster those conference reports. (2 U.S.C. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_2_of_the_United_States_Code) 636, (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/2/636,.html) 2 U.S.C. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_2_of_the_United_States_Code) 641e. (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/2/641e..html))


A motion to debate the conference report requires a simple majority, as does the final vote on enactment. But, the debate itself is subject to the super-majority (60 vote) rule.

C. Ross
12-20-2009, 07:04 PM
I'm glad wikipedia aligns with my memory.

I once worked for a congressman who could not get an amendment approved for floor debate by the House Rules Committee. My finest sneaky moment was to suggest to boss that immediately after the bill passed the house and before the chair referred it to conference, he call for a "motion to instruct conferees" with the language of the amendment he couldn't get on the floor. Heh. The parliamentarian needed to check if that was legit (it was!) and boss got his vote on his amendment. It passed, but the conferees ignored the amendment. Oh well.

John Smith
12-20-2009, 08:18 PM
I believe the final version is still subject to filibuster in the Senate. Perhaps somebody with more edumakayshun can correct me on that point?
I believe as do you. The importance of the bill getting 60 votes now is to keep the process moving.

Three types of bill can come out of committe.

1: something leaning so far right it will fail to pass in the house by 20 votes or more.

2: somethng so progressive, with a public option and/or medicare buy in, that there'd be only 55 votes in the senate that could likely be relied upon.

3. somthing so compromised neither group supports it.

My math tells me that the president will have more luck persuading 5 or so senators to change their mind and at least vote for closure on a bill that represents what the polls say 60% of the public support, than trying to convince 20 or so house members to vote for a bill that the majority of their constituants are clearly against.

My personal view is that a bill coming out of conference/committee where the president can look us in the eye and explain how we benefit, that has cost control, and the public option that's more than a hoax, would be a very difficult piece of legislation to stand in the way of.

A lot of what's been going on recently, has been to coax 60 votes for cloture on the senate bill, because if it doesn't must 60 votes, health care reform dies then and there.