Dems defeat GOP effort to force separate vote on Senate health bill

In a 222-203 vote, Democrats beat back a GOP resolution offered by Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Parker Griffith (Ala.) that would have forced lawmakers to vote on the Senate healthcare bill separately from the series of fixes they hope to make to that legislation.

All Republican lawmakers who voted opposed the measure, which had the effect of ending the GOP's effort to force a vote. They were joined by 28 Democrats, who broke with party members on the vote.

Two hundred and twenty-two Democrats supported the measure, though — enough to proceed. Three members of either party did not vote.

Republicans had hoped for the separate vote to get Democratic lawmakers on record on the Senate bill, which includes some provisions on abortion, excise taxes and other issues that House lawmakers find distasteful.

At this stage of the proceedings, Democrats plan a vote on a rule on Sunday that would make changes to the Senate-passed bill while deeming the original legislation to have passed the House.

Republicans have decried the measure as extra-parliamentary and possibly unconstitutional. Democrats have defended the process as well within the scope of regular congressional action, and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that President Barack Obama would sign a bill passed through such a process.