Lawmakers are bickering about why getting a health bill through the Senate is taking so long, and the Congressional Budget Office head has been explaining the finer points of tort reform impact forecasts.
Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., who created H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act bill, began the day by saying Democrats want to wait until the Congression Budget Office analyzes the effects of health bill compromise they have negotiated before giving any information about the compromise.
The CBO score will not be available until next week, Reid said.
Meanwhile, he said, the Democrats would like the Republicans to help them get an appropriations bill to the floor while waiting for the PPACA bill compromise CBO score.
“Whatever they want to do, it is in their hands,” Reid said. “But everyone should understand that, procedurally, no one can stop us from moving to the appropriations bills.”
Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., scoffed at the idea that Republicans are responsible for PPACA debate delays, and he noted that the Senate has voted on just a handful of the amendments awaiting consideration.
“Right now,” Enzi said, “the majority is filibustering their own bill, and I have no idea why that’s happening.”
Enzi accused Democrats of continuing to shut Republicans out of efforts to work on the health bill.
“There wasn’t a Republican involved in the behind-the-doors stuff that Leader Reid did to put together the bill that we’ve got now,” Enzi said. “That’s not bipartisan. And there hasn’t been a single person from the Republican side even briefed on this new proposal that’s going to save the world.”
Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., complained about the process being used to draft the Democratic health bill compromise.
First, the Democrats shoved all Republican health bill amendments aside, Gregg said.
Now senators are “hearing about a massive, massive rewrite of this bill that is going to appear from the majority leader’s office and fundamentally change the way health care is delivered in this country,” Gregg said. “Is that going to be bipartisan?”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., complained about Reid expecting senators to go home over the weekend without knowing anything about the compromise proposal.