Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Lawmakers on standby to get health care bill

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. As the Senate is poised to take up health care reform, it kind of feels like everyone is waiting for the party to start if only the guest of honor – in this case, the bill – would arrive.

For three weeks the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has been reviewing the Senate bill stitched together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid hopes to have the analysis back this week. But that’s what he said last week.

The problems Reid faces in crafting a bill that will have the blessing of both the green shades at the budget office and his diverse Democratic caucus are, by now, legendary: How to pay for the thing (tax on Cadillac plans vs. tax on high wage earners); public option with opt-out (or something else); abortion restrictions (or not).

The New York Times reported that the CBO sent Reid 11 pages of questions last week, and the back-and-forth continued.

Even when the bill does arrive, the procedural hoops needed to open the debate are equally legendary. Talk is now of a potentially Saturday vote.

Meanwhile, the business of Washington continues.

The House this week may take up legislation from Rep. Shelley Berkley to extend the estate tax, which is expiring at year’s end.

The big news over the weekend was the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, which my colleague Michael Mishak writes is an indicator of the tough re-election campaign ahead for the freshman congresswoman.

Lots of other interesting reads in the weekend papers, including this piece from J. Patrick Coolican on the Las Vegas construction industry on the auction block, being sold off one earthmover at a time.

And it’s not quite the Stripper-mobile, but the Clark County Commission this week may wade into the parallel issue of mobile billboards.

That’s all for now. Check back later for all the political news in Nevada.

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