Tuesday 18 January 2011

Today in Washington

Snow fell in the Washington area overnight - but then a drop in temperature left roads very icy. As a result most schools and local government buildings are opening a couple of hours late.

The House of Representatives returns - and gets down to "repealing" the Health Care legislation which was passed last year. As often happens the legislation has been given a very emotive title - something that would not be done in Britain - it is the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act". I'd love to hear what the clerks at Westminster would say if such a contentiously titled bill were submitted to them!

The Republicans have the votes to pass the bill through the House of Representatives - they remain in a minority in the Senate, so its not likely to pass there. Even if it did, the President could veto it. That veto can be overridden - but only if, in both Houses - "two thirds" of both Houses require to back such an override. Don't hold your breath.

But a heated couple of days are expected - the bill has already been attacked on two fronts

1 the bill has been estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to raise public spending - see CBO report here - so will worsen the deficit

2 the closed rule for debate - restricts debate - contrary to the promises by the new majority to do away with such restrictions on debate.

So it will be interesting!