The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has voted along party lines (13 to 10) to get the bill out of committee. The HELP bill, also known as the Kennedy bill after chairman Ted Kennedy, would cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years when you include the cost of expanding Medicaid, and it would include a new government-run plan.
Now we await the release of the long-delayed Senate Finance committee bill, which will have to be marked up and then merged with the HELP bill before the whole Senate will have something to vote on. Democrats have just over three weeks to accomplish all of this if they’re going to meet the deadline to pass something before going on recess. That’s a pretty tall order.
UPDATE: Ranking Republican Sen. Mike Enzi notes that “In 12 days of mark-up, we had 45 roll call votes on Republican-sponsored amendments, and only 2 prevailed.”