Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), one of the chief deputy whips, Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), all of whom said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) won't use the tactic of deem and pass for healthcare reform.
The House appears set now to move toward an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill, as well as a separate, up-or-down vote on the series of changes to that bill. There will still be a vote on the rule, as there always is for a piece of legislation, though it will not package the two bills together.
Democrats moved toward separating the votes after several members, including Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), had said they could not support the procedural maneuver.
Cardoza confirmed the change in position by House leadership during a Rules Committee meeting Saturday afternoon.
"I want to thank the House leadership for indicating to a number of us that that's what's going to happen," he said.
Republicans had sought a separate vote on the Senate bill this past week, and tried to force one by offering a series of resolutions to do so, though these efforts were batted aside by House Democrats.
The Senate bill had been seen as a politically dangerous vote, as the Senate bill contains a number of "sweeteners" that had been included to invite Senate support. The reconciliation package would strike many of these deals.