House, Senate Democrats Angling to Pass Health Bill by Easter

Posted March 2, 2010 at 9:50am

Updated: 1:37 p.m.

House and Senate Democratic leaders are trying to work out an agreement to pass health care reform legislation by Easter, but House Democrats want assurances that their Senate counterparts will join them in taking any tough votes.

The most likely scenario now in play would involve the House passing the Senate’s $871 billion health care package, in addition to a sidecar of mutually agreed upon changes to the Senate bill. Senate Democrats would then move to approve that sidecar using reconciliation rules that require only 51 votes, rather than the customary 60.

One Democratic source said Tuesday that House Democrats are seeking assurances from their Senate counterparts that they would hold up their end in the form of a letter signed by at least 51 Senate Democrats. “They want the letter with 51 Senate Democrats’ signatures committing to passing changes through reconciliation,” this Democratic source said.

Meanwhile, sources said one option under consideration is to truncate the Easter recess in some manner in order to meet this latest holiday deadline.