Health Care Fixes Hit Snag; New Law Must Return to House for Vote

Health Care Fixes Hit Snag; New Law Must Return to House for Vote

Published March 25, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The bill making changes in President Barack Obama's newly enacted health care overhaul will have to go back to the House of Representatives, a Democratic spokesman says, but the revisions are minor and not expected to derail the legislation.

Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said Republicans consulting with the Senate parliamentarian had found "two minor provisions" that violate budget rules. The two provisions, dealing with federal government grants for low-income university students, will have to be removed from the bill.

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Once those provisions are deleted and the Senate passes the measure, the House will have to approve the legislation before sending it to Obama for his signature. Manley said he was confident the House would do so with no problems.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had put members on notice they may be needed to vote on any changes that get through the Senate. If only minor changes were made to the bill, the House was expected to pass it again with little trouble.

Democrats described the situation as a minor glitch, but did not rule out that Republicans might be able to remove additional sections of the bill.

The bill is a companion to the main legislation passed by Congress over the weekend and signed by Obama on Tuesday. The main health care bill would extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans over 10 years with a first-time requirement for nearly everyone to carry insurance and would ban insurance company practices such as denying coverage to sick people.

The second health care bill was drafted to supplement the first by sweetening benefits for seniors with high prescription drug costs and for lower-to-middle income families who cannot afford the cost of insurance.

Lacking the votes to stop it, Senate Republicans sought votes on politically charged proposals that, while potentially troublesome for Democrats, were doomed to defeat.

By shortly after midnight, Republicans had offered 22 consecutive amendments, and over the course of nearly seven hours Democrats had rejected every one until they hit a snag over the provisions that violated budget rules.

Meanwhile, the FBI announced Wednesday it was investigating threats received by about 10 Democratic lawmakers in recent days in apparent connection with the intensely controversial health care law.

Obama was flying to Iowa later Thursday for the first of many appearances around the country to sell his health care revamp before the November congressional elections. His trip comes as polls show people are divided over the new health law, and Democratic lawmakers from competitive districts hope he can convince more voters by November that it was the right move.

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Associated Press writers David Espo, Ben Feller, Jim Kuhnhenn and Erica Werner contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

 

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Written by <P>The Associated Press</P>

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