Posts Tagged ‘Congressional Record’

If you want to make your own evaluation of the health bill’s progress, go to Thomas at the Library of Congress. In fact, aside from information from pundits you trust, this is one of the best ways to avoid heart palpitations. That is because the amendments are numbered and entered before they are debated. That gives you a little time to read them for yourself and ponder a few questions. Here is how:

As we said, on November 21st the Senate agreed to debate H.R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”.  That debate began on December 2nd. Since  HR. 3590 was amended by S.Amdt.2786, and changed to the health care act, as of this morning, another 91 amendments have been proposed. Several have been voted on and approved.

They are numbered and listed in numerical order as they arrive to the Senate Floor. Most of them do not yet have titles, but are to be given them at the time of their debate. They all have text and can be found and read by doing a search at the Library of Congress. If you want to try, it’s really pretty easy after you get the hang of it, and it is public information to which everyone is entitled. Go HERE.

This is the search page for all bills.  Type in where it says “word/phrase”, the title: “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, and hit the orange search button below.

Right now this search will give you a list of around 60 possible bills, with one at the top listed exactly as entered. That is H.R.3590.AS. Clicking on that link will take you to the index of the bill, from which you can do several interesting things. Click the link that says: “Bill Summary & Status file”. This will give you an overview of all the places the bill’s activity is being recorded.

Click “Amendments”. This will give you a list of 92, or possibly more, later in the day, with the first one, S.AMDT.2786 that changed the bill from a homeowners affordablity bill, to a health care bill at the top. It you want to read more about these later, or get the text just click on one of the amendment numbers.

However, let’s do a back click to the previous page. All the current information about the bill that the Library of Congress has can be gathered from this location. The current text can be downloaded from here; also cosponsors, dates, and related bills.

If you want to know what happened yesterday, The Congressional Record (CR) does what it’s title suggests; It records for posterity all the debate and action that occurred. So click the link that says “Congressional Record with Amendments”. This will take you to an index of all activity that H.R.3590 has received since it was first introduced to the Senate.

As an example, scroll down to 12/2/09 and AMDT.2808. It says it was proposed by Durbin for Vitter. The number below; CRS12152 is the link to the overview of  the index of the actual debate and speech as recorded in text. Don’t be fooled by the title, “SERVICE MEMBERS HOME OWNERSHIP TAX ACT OF 2009”, remember, that was the bill’s title before it was gutted and the health bill inserted. The CR must maintain the chain of information. Click on the top link dated “Senate – December 02, 2009”. There is the index. The debate for S.AMDT.2808 is index listed by page. Clicking a page will give you a word for word text of the debate till the next page.

Back clicking to the Congressional Record index and checking all the references for S.AMDT.2808, you will see that this amendment was voted on and passed. So, it is now a part of bill H.R. 3590.

Similarly, if you want to see what was said by Senator McCain, yesterday, in regards to Social Security, check out December 3rd. On November 30th he had recommended that the Bill be sent to the Finance Committee. That motion was voted down yesterday.

Try it out, and make up your own mind about what is happening.

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