-------------- The House and Senate each passed separate bills. (House: 7-Nov-09; Senate: Christmas)
Each hates the other's bill, but neither has the votes to pass a new one.
Constitutionally, any measure requiring spending must originate in the House then be approved by the Senate.
Further, to have a law, something must pass both houses, then be signed by the President, BUT
- The House can't approve the Senate bill because too many House members despise the Senate's bill, and - The Senate has no ability to pass a new bill due to the election of Scott Brown, R-MA.
The House is currently attempting to: - re-draft the Senate bill more to their liking, - approve this 3rd bill, - then declare this as equivalent to approving the Senate bill as is, yet simultaneously amending it.
The House bill is currently being drafted in secret, a few thousand pages, the text to be revealed roughly an hour before they vote.
The House is several votes shy of the 50% + 1 they need to pass their new bill.
o The House Democrats are considering a procedure whereby they feel they can pass the bill without voting on it, thus avoiding the need for a majority.
o If (and however) the House passes it, the Senate has insufficient votes to approve the House's changes.
o Democrats hope to circumvent the need for the full Senate to approve their changes by using 'reconciliation', a budgetary procedure for adjusting levies and outlays, i.e. tweaking numbers. Policymaking isn't allowed, and all matters handled by reconciliation sunset after5 years.
o 37 states currently have legislation passed or pending to exempt their citizens from the federal plan.
-- Cheers, James Arthur