House Democrats aim to finish health-care fixes on Thursday

Jon Ward Contributor
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Senate Republicans succeeded early Thursday in forcing Democrats to take another vote in the House on the reconciliation bill that will change certain provisions in the health-care law passed Sunday.

But House Democrats are aiming to make quick work of the fixes with a vote late Thursday.

“Our hope is that this process can be quick but once again it depends largely on the tactics used by the other side,” said Vincent Morris, spokesman for the House Rules Committee.

The Senate, after working until 3 a.m. Thursday and picking back up at 9:45 a.m., is scheduled to hold a final vote on the reconciliation bill at 2 p.m.

The bill has to go back to the House for one more vote because the Senate Parliamentarian upheld Republican challenges to two minor provisions in the reconciliation text.

The Rules Committee will take the reconciliation bill once it passes the Senate, as it is expected to do, and try to quickly approve it so that it can go to the House floor for a full vote.

A vote in favor by the House, which already approved the fixes once 220-to-211 on Sunday minutes after passing the main health bill 219-to-212, will mean that the entire health-care package of legislation is done with.

President Obama is headed to Iowa City, Iowa for a rally to promote the new law. He speaks at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

A new CBS poll released Wednesday night indicated that Obama and Democrats have to work to sell the plan. The poll showed that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans to keep opposing the plan.

Republicans, however, have yet to develop a full strategy of opposition, as they try to balance a message of repeal with an acknowledgment that certain parts of the bill are positive or will be viewed favorably.

Senate Republicans may hold the Senate in session through the weekend, but that would be on a separate set of provisions.

The Senate has to approve temporary extensions of unemployment insurance at a cost of $10 billion, but Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, has said he will block the extension unless Democrats agree to make it deficit neutral by cutting spending somewhere else.