House Rejects GOP effort to block Democrats Strategy to Approve Senate Health Bill

The House of Representatives Thursday turned back an effort by Republicans to block House Democrats from using a parliamentary gambit to approve the Senate's health care reform package.

Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL), who just became a Republican in December, sponsored a resolution that would have required Democrats to have a straight up or down vote on the Senate's health measure.

As part of a complex, legislative tangle, House Democrats are using a tactical two-step to approve the Senate's health bill. In a few days, the House is expected to take up a special budget reconcilation package to okay health care reform. But before doing that, they must approve an earlier version of health care reform that the Senate passed on Christmas Eve.

House Democrats are planning to piggyback the Senate bill onto a procedural vote which would move the reconcilation resolution to the floor. Thus, there would be no distinct vote on the Senate bill. That vote would be a "two-fer," passing both the Senate bill and clearing the way for the reconcilation process.

The vote was 222 to 203.

All Republicans voted for Griffith's resolution.

Twenty-eight Democrats broke ranks and sided with Republicans on this issue.