In a move more about procedure rather than policy, the House Budget Committee voted 21-16 to initiate the first step in a legislative process that could lead to a health overhaul vote this week.
Reconciliation move clears early hurdle
The committee's green light essentially allows a broader health reform package to move under a congressional process known as reconciliation. That bill, once drafted, will replace the package approved Monday by the Budget Committee.
The House Rules Committee, which will ultimately draft what the House takes up, expects to meet as early as Thursday to shape the reform package.
By using reconciliation, Democrats have chosen a path that allows legislation to pass on a simple majority vote. But they're doing so at the expense of Republicans, who have said they would not vote for reform legislation unless substantial changes are first made.
Rep. David Dreier of California, the senior Republican on the committee, bashed the process during a news conference on Capitol Hill.
“They are trying to avoid accountability,” Dreier charged Democrats.
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