House Clears Rule for Health Care Debate

Posted November 7, 2009 at 1:27pm

House Democratic leaders on Saturday got through their first major vote on their health care proposal with passage of the rule governing debate on the bill.

The rule passed 242-192; 15 Democrats joined all Republicans in opposing the measure. The House now moves into four hours of debate on the bill, followed by debate on two amendments and a Republican motion to change the bill.

The House cheered as Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the sponsor of the bill and a veteran advocate of health care reform, read aloud the final vote from the Speaker’s chair. But moments after, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) cast a damper on the mood by reminding the chamber that Dingell was edged out of his Energy and Commerce chairman post last year by leadership.

“In this moment of recognizing a great Member of Congress, I would ask unanimous consent to restore his chairmanship back to him,— Gohmert said, drawing boos from the chamber.