A pre-lunch update from the reporters and editors of CongressDaily.
SECOND OPINION. President Obama released his version of healthcare overhaul legislation today that is largely based on a Senate-passed bill but with some changes designed to appease House Democrats ahead of Thursday’s health summit. The measure extends a special deal for Nebraska on Medicaid expansion costs to all states, increases the threshold for a tax on high-cost insurance plans and includes a proposal to regulate insurance rates. Senior White House officials estimated the changes would increase the cost of the $871 billion Senate bill to $950 billion but they insisted the new provisions are fully offset. White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said drafters carefully constructed the proposal in anticipation of a Republican filibuster attempt, presumably meaning the measure could pass through reconciliation if necessary.
AN OMEN, PERHAPS. Senate Majority Leader Reid needs at least two Republican votes tonight to end debate on a $15 billion jobs bill, but it isn’t clear he will get them. No Republicans have committed to voting for cloture, but some moderates say they are undecided. But the prospect of a jobs bill stalling in an election year in which angst over unemployment is high begs a vital question: If a jobs bill can’t get a couple of GOP votes, what can? For the record, Republicans say they would be happy to help out on this bill — if Reid would allow amendments.
SOME COUNT MORE THAN OTHERS. Not all governors are created equal. Obama met with the nation’s governors this morning, but only one of them gets a special Oval Office audience later today. Obama pushed education programs to the masses. This afternoon, according to the White House schedule, he’ll meet with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. No word on the agenda, but the term-limited governor will need a job soon.
For more, see this afternoon’s CongressDailyPM. For breaking news, see the CongressDaily Web site.
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By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.