The Reconciliation Bill: What’s in It and What Isn’t in It

The House Budget Committee began to mark up the "Reconciliation Act of 2010" Monday afternoon, a 2300 plus page bill intended to “fix” the issues House Democrats have with the Senate health care bill originally passed in late December.

First posted online Sunday evening, the measure is full of tweaks and twists to the original Senate bill, but it is mostly notable for what it doesn’t include: specific numbers on how much the bill will cost, how much it will reduce the deficit, and how many people it will cover.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release those figures at some point this week.

In addition to price and coverage numbers, the reconciliation bill does not include any policy changes on controversial issues like abortion. That’s because the Senate plans to pass this bill through the reconciliation process, a parliamentary vote procedure that requires only a simple majority but mandates that the legislation only deal with financial matters, not with policy issues.

The bill does include changes to language in the Senate bill, but Congressional sources say that most of the major changes will occur during Monday’s markup and additional maneuvers in the Rules Committee.

This massive bill will be all for naught though if the House cannot pass the Senate health care bill, as there is no need to “fix” an unpassed bill. So far, House Democrats have been unable to muster the votes necessary to pass that measure.