This morning, Senator Reid introduced a manager’s amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The 383 page manager’s amendment includes the deals and compromises needed to secure 60 votes on final passage, with many of the provisions targeted to satisfy the demands of individual senators.
Senator Ben Nelson (NE), the final Democratic holdout on health care, announced this morning that he will support the Senate health care reform bill.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Charles Schumer (NY) said he, Majority Leader Reid, and Senator Nelson reached a handshake agreement on cloture late last night, provided the language they discussed appeared in the manager’s amendment. Nelson’s backing provides the crucial 60th vote as Senator Reid pushes for a final vote before Christmas.
Later today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release its analysis and score of the manager’s package. This analysis will provide Senators with an estimate of the cost of the final bill as well as the impact of the bill (for example, how many uninsured Americans will have insurance under the bill).
The Senate will likely need to invoke cloture three times on the health care bill: on the manager’s amendment, on the underlying Reid substitute amendment, and on the underlying bill.
A vote on final passage is scheduled for 7pm on Christmas Eve.
In January, the House and Senate will have to reconcile the different versions of health care reform they passed. Congressional leaders hope to send a final bill to President Obama before his State of the Union address.