Democrats To Crack Down On GOP Obstructionism, Nelson To Propose Stupak-Like Amendment As Early As Today

After three days of debate without a single vote and with just 22 days until Christmas, Senate leaders of both parties agreed yesterday to vote “on four proposals dealing with two issues: how to guarantee additional health benefits for women and how to squeeze nearly a half-trillion dollars from Medicare over 10 years without adversely affecting older Americans.” [UPDATE: The Vitter amendment reversing the U.S. Preventive Task Force’s mammogram recommendation passed was added to the Mikulski amendment, but has not yet passed. This is a modified amendment that only targets the mammogram decision.]

Democrats may be ready to crack down on Republican obstructionism and speed-up the processes (Republicans, incidentally, are denying that they are dragging out the debate while releasing memos instructing senators on how to drag out the debate). Roll Call reports that leadership is considering tabling the GOP amendments, ‘filling the amendment tree,’ filing motions to limit debate, or “incorporating Democratic proposals into the manager’s amendment or a package of amendments that would be voted on at the conclusion of the debate.”

The goal is to vote on the Senate measure before Christmas, “but leaders are beginning to concede that their goal may be out of reach and are promising to work straight through New Year’s Day if they have to.” Democrats plan to replace the opt-out public option with a watered down trigger proposal from Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) early next week and could vote on an amendment restricting federal funding of abortion by the end of this week. That measure, proposed by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) could be unveiled as early as today, and will likely resemble the Stupak language in the House bill. “It’s as identical to Stupak as it can be,” Nelson told reporters on Tuesday.

Below is a table of some upcoming amendments filed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:


NumberSponsorDescriptionSA 2826BennetGuaranteeing Medicare Benefits: “Nothing in the provisions of, or amendments made by, this Act shall result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits under title XVIII of the Social Security Act.”SA 2791MikulskiPreventive Care for Women: The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) would determine what women’s services would be exempt from co-pays, and the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) would help determine other types of preventative coverage. SA 2791MurkowskiPreventive Care for Women: Would cover preventative care without co-pays as delineated by “the 2 largest plans (by enrollment) participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.”SA 2859Snowe, Landrieu, LincolnEliminates the bill’s opt-out public option a state’s ability to opt-out of the public plan national plans.SA 2788Coburn Transparency: requires CBO score and CRS report 72 hours before any vote on final passage or a conference report.SA 2823CoburnAmendment would strip a provision extending more Medicaid funding to Louisiana.SA 2825CoburnBureaucrat Limitation: For each new bureaucrat added to any department or agency of the Federal Government for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this Act (or any amendment made by this Act), the head of such department or agency shall ensure that the addition of such new bureaucrat is offset by a reduction of 1 existing bureaucrat at such department or agency.SA 2789Coburn, Vitter, Burr, HatchRequires members of Congress to enroll in public optionSA 2800CornynBill would not go into effect until it is certified that it would reduce annual health insurance premiums by $2,500 for the average American family.SA 2807CornynEliminates the Medicare Commission.SA 2808 — ACCEPTEDVitterWould invalidate the recent mammogram recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Task Force.SA 2837Sanders, Burris, BrownReplaces existing legislation with a single-payer bill, the American Health Security Act of 2009.SA 2787SpecterHealth Care Fraud: Creates a six (6) month mandatory minimum for those convicted of committing health care fraud under 18 U.S.C. 1347, where the amount of loss is calculated at $100,000 or more.SA 2793Dorgan, Snowe, Grassley, McCain, Stabenow, Klobuchar, Brown, Shaheen, Vitter, Kohl, Leahy, Feingold, Nelson (FL)Prescription drug reimportationSA 2795Leahy, Reid, Kerry, Rockefeller, Lieberman, Feinstein, Feingold, Wyden, Schumer, Cantwell, Lautenberg, McCaskill, Whitehouse, Burris, Kaufman, Bennet, FrankenAntitrust Exemption: Removes health insurers’ exemption from federal anti-trust laws.


CORRECTION: The Vitter amendment was added to the Mikulski amendment, but has not yet passed. The Snowe, Landrieu, Lincoln amendment only strikes the opt-out out of national plans.