June 22, 2017:
Senate GOP releases "Discussion Draft
This morning the Senate released the discussion draft of its changes to the House-passed American Health Care Act.
What comes next?
- The Senate will negotiate informally over the next few days, hearing concerns from members and looking to secure 51 votes.
- Senators will offer amendments
- A CBO score (explaining how much the bill will cost, how many will be covered, and other analysis of its impacts) will come out next Monday or Tuesday
- The Senate will vote on amendments
- After amendments, the Senate will vote on the actual bill (no 60-vote cloture requirement) – it needs 50 votes to pass, with VP Mike Pence potentially casting a tie-breaking vote
- The bill will then head back over to the House, where it could either be amended again – or, if the House has enough votes, it could pass with no further changes
- It would then be signed into law by President Trump
Supporters of the bill hope to have the Senate bill passed before July 4th, and passed by both chambers before the August Congressional recess.
May 5, 2017: The American Health Care Act has a long road to travel.
Senators plan to write their own health bill, so keep an eye on Senators Orrin Hatch [R, UT] and Lamar Alexander [R, TN], chairmen of the relevant committees.
The health bill is a reconciliation bill, (crafted in response to the recent budget to "reconcile" existing policies with the budget), which means it only needs a simple majority and is not subject to filibuster. A reconciliation bill is also subject to the "Bryd Rule," meaning it must reduce spending and cannot include "extraneous matters."
Once senator leaders come up with a bill that can pass Byrd Rule muster, it can come up for a vote before the full Senate. And if the Senate bill passes, that's when things get really interesting. The House and Senate would have to work reconcile differences and then the combined bill would have to pass both the House and Senate in the exact same form.
All of that to say, a long process awaits, with many twists and turns and opportunities to weigh in along the way.
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