Health Care Rule Passes, Clearing Way for Final Approval

Posted March 21, 2010 at 5:30pm

Democrats passed the rule on their massive health care overhaul with votes to spare Sunday evening on a 224-206 vote, clearing the way for passage later in the night.

A deal reached Sunday afternoon between the White House and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and a band of Members opposed to abortion cleared the way for passage of the rule and the bill. President Barack Obama agreed to issue an executive order clarifying that no federal funding can be used to fund abortions.

The rule provides for two hours of debate followed by votes on the Senate health care bill, a Republican motion to recommit, and the reconciliation package of fixes to the Senate bill.

Republicans, who have launched a series of delaying tactics already today, still have a few opportunities to extend debate. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) can speak for an unlimited amount of time under the traditions of the House, and he spoke for an hour on climate change legislation last year.

If passed, the Senate bill would immediately be sent to the president’s desk, while the reconciliation bill will head to the Senate, where a majority has promised to quickly pass it.

Republicans have vowed to try to derail the reconciliation bill, but that bill is governed by strict rules that limit debate and prohibit filibusters.