House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) held a hearing this morning to certify that H.R. 3200 — the main House Obamacare bill which was the subject of all the town hall rage in August — has met all requirements to pass as a “budget reconciliation” measure.
Under reconciliation, the bill can be passed by a simple majority vote in the Senate — just 51 votes — and will be given preferential treatment on the House floor as well. The Dems have apparently invoked the “nuclear option” to shut out Republicans and ensure the bill is passed before the end of the year.
The bill certified for “reconciliation” is the Ways & Means version of H.R. 3200 that was passed out of committee before the August break, and before it was read aloud at town hall meetings across the country and blasted by voters across the country.
It contains all of the horrors previously exposed: federal funding of abortion, coverage for illegal aliens, comparative effectiveness, healthcare rationing, deep cuts to Medicare. Everything the American people overwhelmingly reject.
No amendments were allowed at the hearing and no debate. Rangel told Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the committee, that he would not have preferred to do it this way, but leadership — i.e., Speaker Pelosi — forced his hand.
While the media cameras are focused on Harry Reid’s office door, the House of Representatives has made it possible for H.R. 3200 to pass the Senate with 51 votes. It is still possible that Senator Reid won’t choose to use reconciliation in the Senate, but the odds against it are infinitesimal.
Since it has now cleared the Ways and Means Committee (fulfilling the $1 billion reconciliation requirement), H.R. 3200 will go to the Budget Committee where they will do the same thing that was done today in Ways & Means. They will agree that the bill has met the reconciliation requirements on a straight party line vote.
The bill then goes to Pelosi and the Rules Committee where Pelosi will do the same thing Reid is doing right now: merge the three House versions of H.R. 3200 together into whatever she wants it to be, then she will schedule it for a floor vote.
H.R. 3200 could see a floor vote in the next two weeks, or the first week of November. If it passes, the House it goes to the Senate and can pass there with 51 votes.