THE VOTES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR…. According to multiple Hill sources, here’s what to expect over the next half-hour or so. If you’re not watching the proceedings, now would be a good time to tune in.
First, the House will vote on the Senate version of health care reform. This 15-minute vote is slated to start around 10:15.
Second, there will be a vote on the Republicans “motion to recommit,” which will take another 15 minutes.
Third, will be a final vote on the reconciliation bill, which is also a 15-minute vote.
And while attention will then immediately turn away from the House, the chamber will then vote on two resolutions unrelated to health care (including one recognizing the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima).
After the health care votes, President Obama is scheduled to say a few words from the East Room of the White House.
Update: At 10:48 p.m. (ET), the vote was complete and the House had passed the Senate health care reform bill. The final tally: 219 to 212. No Republicans voted with the majority, and 34 Dems voted against the bill. When the vote reached 216, much of the House Democratic caucus broke out in a chant: “Yes. We. Can.” Here’s the roll call on this vote (in case you wanted to see the names of the 34 Dems who broke ranks).
Second Update: At 11:18 p.m. (ET), the House rejected the Republicans’ motion to recommit (which would have sent the bill back to committee), 199 to 232. The GOP measure, intended to serve as a wedge between pro-life and pro-choice Dems, was condemned in a surprisingly strong speech from Bart Stupak, which effectively sealed its fate. During his remarks, an unidentified Republican lawmaker shouted, “Baby killer!” at the Michigan Democrat.
Third Update: At 11:36 p.m. (ET), the House voted to approve the reconciliation bill, 220 to 211. As Speaker Pelosi banged the gavel — a gavel that was used when Medicare passed — and declared that the bill has passed, about half the chamber erupted in applause. Shortly before, President Obama called Pelosi and told her, “You’ve done what no other Speaker has done.”
And with that, the House’s work on health care reform is done. Time to follow through, Senate.