House GOP votes on rules package for new Congress
House Republicans voted Thursday on a sweeping rules package to govern the new Congress, but a day earlier the Senate was poised to approve the same measure and avoid a repeat of last year’s fiasco.
The House approved the package 236-194 on Wednesday in a largely party-line vote. It would allow the House to pass sweeping legislation even before its Democratic leaders are ready.
A provision to delay the House vote until Dec. 1 is expected to be added to the Senate measure.
House Republicans had insisted on the December vote so that they could begin work on their replacement for the health insurance program with President Barack Obama’s signature law, and to allow time for their own plans to come online.
The House will be in place Thursday with its work already underway, but it was uncertain whether it would be able to work its way to passage in the Senate. The Senate had already scheduled a vote Friday, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had said the measure should be passed by the Senate.
But the Senate voted last week to send the bill to the House, where it passed by a veto-proof margin. The House vote was needed to ensure that the measure would go into effect before the end of the year when the Health Care Reform Act of 2010 is set to expire — a requirement of the Congressional Budget Office.
The measure would restore the law’s insurance exchanges and provide billions more dollars to the Medicaid program.
The rules package includes $1.1 billion to help keep the National Park service running through the end of the year.
The House passed a measure Wednesday aimed at ending the federal ban on military service by gay men and lesbians.
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, introduced the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif. It would eliminate the discriminatory policy, which has only been effective in forbidding service from federal employees and members of Congress.
The House voted Wednesday to repeal the law barring citizenship by birth from anyone who has been a citizen for at least seven years after signing