Senate Republicans Deal Minor, Easily Surmountable Setback to Democrats

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Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

All the Senate Democrats wanted to do during this reconciliation process was pass the exact same bill as the House did Sunday night. If Republicans forced any changes at all, the bill would have to be voted on by the House again, and that would be a mild nuisance. Well, now the House will have to vote again, because the Republicans have gotten the Senate parliamentarian to strike two provisions from the bill.

One of them has to do with a "formula for determining ... maximum Pell grant awards" (which, yes, is being included in the health-care bill), which violated the rule — known as the Byrd rule — that all items passed via reconciliation must be germane to the budget. Another was so important that it was described in the Times only as "a technical matter that [Senator Kent] Conrad described as mostly insignificant." Neither change is expected to threaten the legislation when the House votes on it again, making this GOP victory pretty much as inconsequential as political victories can be.

G.O.P. Forces New House Vote on Fixes to Health Bill [NYT]