Energy and Commerce in late July had approved its version of the America's Affordable Health Choices Act without addressing all amendments that had been presented before the committee. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) had promised committee members he would hold a supplemental meeting to address this unfinished business, and had considered introducing a separate bill to address the outstanding amendments. Instead, the committee will be drawing up a motion to transfer these additional amendments to the House Rules Committee, which determines the rules under which a bill may proceed to the floor of the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has indicated she wants a reform bill signed by the president by the end of the year. However, the three committees with jurisdiction over America's Affordable Health Choices Act, including Energy and Commerce, must resolve differences in their respective bills first before the legislation can clear the rules panel and proceed to the floor.
Waxman in the meantime has offered few opinions on the reform bill that's about to be negotiated in the Senate Finance Committee. “There are things I like about it and things I don't,” Waxman told reporters last week. Unlike the House bill, the Finance bill championed by its chairman, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) lacks a public plan option.
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