Weekend preview: Healthcare challenge

Healthcare reform shifted into high gear again this week with Congress and the White House barreling toward a deadline not quite agreed upon, but the Senate parliamentarian put the brakes on that effort with a surprise ruling on reconciliation rules.

The Thursday ruling decreed that President Barack Obama must sign the broader Senate healthcare legislation before the upper chamber can take up changes demanded by the House. This means House Democrats would have to rely on a vow that senators will pass the changes after the healthcare bill is signed into law. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she will need “certain assurances” from Senate Democrats before the House votes on healthcare reform as early as next week. Obama even decided to postpone an overseas trip by three days in order to stick with the legislative effort.

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Passing healthcare reform through the House will be the biggest challenge of Pelosi's political career. A recent survey by The Hill shows that Pelosi and President Barack Obama need to sway many Democrats to clear a bill by the end of next week.

Stay on top of the latest developments in the healthcare reform push on TheHill.com this weekend, including White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and senior adviser David Axelrod making the rounds on the Sunday morning news shows.

The Hill will be updating its whip count on healthcare reform throughout the weekend.

Also on TheHill.com this weekend:

  • When he unveils financial overhaul legislation on Monday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) will be attempting to reconcile liberal demands for tough action against Wall Street against the vote-counting realities of the Senate. Financial writer Silla Brush has the story.
  • What's the left's answer to the Tea Party movement? The Coffee Party. Campaign reporter Sean J. Miller looks at the "burgeoning netroots political movement has emerged from what its founder characterized as 'ranting on my Facebook page.'"
  • Hoping to create jobs and reduce carbon emissions, lawmakers used the stimulus package to expand a tax break to encourage homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements. But the credit also came with a catch: Congress raised the eligibility requirements for products that would qualify, which left some window manufacturers outside looking in. The Hill's Jim Snyder reports on the fight between environmental groups and businesses over the tax break.

Read these stories and much more — plus continuous news updates in the Blog Briefing Room, Twitter Room, Hillicon Valley, E2-Wire, Ballot Box and the new financial blog, On the Money — over the next few days at TheHill.com.

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