On the eve of the Senate passing a bill, I thought I would go back to one of my first civics lessons: Schoolhouse Rock’s I’m Just a Bill video.
While an awesome video, unfortunately, it didn’t include the step that we’re about to have between Friday and the middle/end of January – the Conference Committee.
As a reminder for those who missed that chapter in High School government class (or for those, like me, who never had this info in school), here’s the skinny on what happens next:
Leaders from the House and Senate will be on this conference committee. Both bills will get put into the mix (see below for the comparison between the two bills – thanks to the Miami Herald for the content – but not the formatting). They’re not supposed to add anything new to the bills – just reconcile them. So – for example – the House bill had a public option, the Senate version did not. They’ll hash that out and there’s still a possibility that the final could include a public option. Neither bill had a clause to make sure that every child gets a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. That won’t be included in the final. You get what I mean. (note – constituents should completely reach out to their legislators to press for the components that they most want (or don’t want as in the case of Stupak).
After the conference committee is satisfied with the reconciliation, the unified bill goes back to both houses of Congress for a final vote before being sent to the President. Below is the comparison of the two bills.
(the content for this grid comes from this Miami Herald article. if you click on the image, you can enlarge the grid)