12/02/2009
A little School House Rock refresher health-care-bill style
While the health care bill is being debated in the Senate right now, I thought this would be a good time to recap where in the process the bill is, and if it passes the Senate, where it still has to go.

Regardless of whether the bill passes or not, the goal is to do all we can to make sure funding for abortion, euthanasia and “family planning” (i.e. condoms and other contraceptives) is not part of anything that we call a “health care plan.”

Last major vote: The House passed the health care bill on November 7. This happened late Saturday night as it was beginning to look like it wouldn’t happen at all. The mood changed when the House approved an amendment from pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak that stripped abortion funding from the bill. This was what some pro-life Representatives were holding out for before voting yes on the bill.

Final Vote: 240 to 194

So, is that it?
No. Let’s remember our School House Rock days of how that little bill goes to Capitol Hill.

1. There are two voting decision-making groups in Washington – the House and the Senate.

2. When a bill is introduced, each group gets a copy of the bill.

3. Within the House and Senate, members can change the original bill as much as they want.

4. The two groups can make similar changes in their bill if they choose, but they don’t have to.

5. All the changes stay within the group that they were made (i.e. changes made in the House bill don’t get change in the Senate and vice versa).

6. In the end, everyone votes on whether the bill will pass from their group or not.

7. If the bill passes one group with all the changes, that does not necessarily mean it will get a vote of pass from the other group. (Purple star: This is where we are right now with the health care bill. The House has passed the health care bill, but the Senate is still working on their copy of it. ) CLICK ON THE CHART TO MAKE IT LARGER

8. IF BOTH groups vote to pass the bill they have changed up, then the two groups (the House and Senate) have to go into something called “conference committee,” to find some kind of joining of their different versions of the original bill.

9. Their end result is called a “conference report.” It goes to both the House and Senate for a final vote, and you can’t change the bill anymore at this point.

10. If it passes both groups in this stage, it eventually makes its way over to the president’s desk for a signature.

There are a lot of charts out there on the web, but you know, they were just really complicated. I made this really simple one earlier today. I don't know about you, but I just understand things better when I can see a picture. Click on it, and it will get bigger.

I hope this chart shows you that you still have time to educate yourself about the bill and contact your representative about how you feel they should vote.
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