Vote on Health Reform Bill Delayed While Cost Estimates Are Prepared

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On Monday, Senate Finance Committee aides said that a vote on the committee’s health reform bill would be delayed as panel members had not received a preliminary cost analysis of the bill from the Congressional Budget Office, Reuters reports. The committee had anticipated the cost analysis on Monday, and a vote had been scheduled for today, according to Reuters.

However, a committee aide said, “We are expecting CBO scores later this week and will vote after we get those scores” (Whitesides, Reuters, 10/5).

According to the Washington Post, the vote potentially could be delayed until next week as committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has promised panel members that they will have a “reasonable” amount of time to review the CBO report before a vote is scheduled.

The committee on Friday concluded its markup of the bill after seven days of debate, pledging to pass a bill that would not add to the federal deficit (Murray/Wilson, Washington Post, 10/6).

Committee Republicans said they need a fresh analysis from CBO that included amendments adopted during the markup.

Counting the Votes

The committee is expected to approve the bill largely along party lines, Reuters reports.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will then authorize and oversee the process of merging the bill with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s bill (S 1679), which was passed over the summer.

However, three committee members — Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), a key Republican vote that Democrats are counting on, and Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), two Democratic hold-outs — have not yet endorsed the bill (Reuters, 10/5).

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