WASHINGTON—The Senate passed the reconciliation bill, H.R. 4872, Thursday afternoon 56 to 43, sending the health care “fixes bill” back to the House of Representatives for approval.
Republican senators had vowed to use every procedural delay or amendment they could to derail the bill, but in the end succeeded in making only two minor changes to the bill totaling no more than 16 lines of text. The changes are related to Pell Grants for low-income college students and do not affect the health care bill Obama signed Tuesday.
The Senate met from 5 p.m. Wednesday until 2:45 a.m. Thursday with Republicans raising amendments to thwart or at least stall the bill.
CNN reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects the House will pass the legislation later Thursday and send the bill on to Obama to sign. The House previously passed H.R. 4872 on Sunday to “fix” the Senate health care bill that it passed the same night.
Pelosi said lawmakers want to "finish our work up today." Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week recess this weekend.
She dismissed the importance of Senate Republicans' success in forcing the House of Representatives to vote on the “fixes” bill a second time. Pelosi said
"Of all the things they could send back, this was probably the most benign," reported the Wall Street Journal.
The modified bill makes tax credits for people of lower incomes mandated to buy their own insurance more generous. It also dedicates more federal funding for make Medicaid available to those who earn less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level.