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Washington Week

January 18, 2011 - 6:00pm

This week the House of Representatives will debate and vote on the repeal of President Barack Obama's health care bill. The debate and vote on the repeal bill, HR 2, is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 19.

Also scheduled for House floor debate is the resolution, H.Res. 9, that calls for immediate hearings on an alternative health care bill. The resolution specifically calls on three major House committees to hold hearings that target 12 points to consider when these committees reconstruct a new health care plan for America.

The 12 points are as follows:

  • Lower health care premiums.
  • Increased competition and choice.
  • Preservation of patients health care plan.
  • Pre-existing conditions included.
  • Access provided to affordable health care.
  • Reform of medical malpractice and liability.
  • Reform of wasteful health care spending andduplicate programs eliminated.
  • Increased number of folks insured andpersonal responsibility encouraged.
  • Protection of patient/doctor relationship.
  • Taxpayer funding of abortions prohibited.
  • No increased tax burden for Americans.
  • Provisionofstate flexibility to administer Medicaid programs.

Once the House passes the health care repeal bill, the bill will head to the Senate chamber, which is dark for this week. Senators are on CODELS (congressional delegations) and working behind the scenes to see if they can agree to a rules change resolution when they reconvene Tuesday, Jan. 25.

This rules change will either be something all senators can agree with or it will be something that Sen. Harry Reid will try to force on the Senate. If the majority leader forces a major rules change on the U.S. Senate next week, expect committee assignments, committee ratios and other routine organizational resolutions to become contentious -- a way to retaliate for forcing rules changes through the Senate.

The House resolution instructing certain committees to report legislation replacing the job-killing health care law does not have to be passed by the Senate because it only applies to the House. Therefore, the Energy and Commerce Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee can begin holding these important hearings as early as next week.

Stay tuned to see how many House Democrats will support the repeal of health care when the vote occurs this Wednesday. Odds are there may be as many as 18 to 20 Democrats voting to repeal.

Elizabeth B. Letchworth is a retired, elected United States Senate secretary for the majority and minority. Currently she is a senior legislative adviser for Covington & Burling, LLC and is the founder of

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