"The House approved the 1,088-page, $1.1 trillion measure - combining $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid -- by a 221-to-202 vote yesterday. The Senate immediately voted to begin debate, with a final vote likely this weekend," the AP says. "Not a single House Republican voted for the bill. Some 28 Democrats, chiefly moderates and abortion opponents, opposed the measure."
Over on the Senate side… "A final effort to avoid a weekend of votes fell apart Thursday evening when Senate Democratic and Republican leaders failed to reach agreement to consider an omnibus spending bill on Friday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion to cut off debate on a $447 billion appropriations conference report on Thursday night. As a result, the Senate will vote on the motion to end debate on Saturday and likely vote to pass the spending legislation on Sunday."
The New York Times writes that the Senate health-care deal could mean that Americans might be paying quite a bit for health care. "Senate Democrats have provided few details about their latest health care proposal, but this much seems clear: Anyone who wants to buy the same health benefits as members of Congress, or to buy coverage through Medicare, should be prepared to fork over a large chunk of cash."
More: "According to the Congressional Budget Office, a family of four earning $54,000 in 2016, when the health legislation is fully in effect, would be eligible for a subsidy of $10,100 to help defray the cost of insurance under the health legislation being debated by the Senate. By then, one of the most popular federal plans, a nationwide Blue Cross and Blue Shield policy, is projected to cost more than $20,000."
Politico adds, "Senate moderates who are the linchpin to passing a health care reform bill raised fresh worries Thursday about a proposed Medicare expansion, complicating Majority Leader Harry Reid's hopes of putting together a filibuster-proof majority for the legislation in the coming days."
That said, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week," the Washington Post reports. "But the California Democrat reiterated that she would prefer to create government-sponsored coverage for Americans of all ages, and questions linger in the Senate about the politics and policy of expanding Medicare by allowing people ages 55 to 64 to buy into the federal insurance program for the elderly."
"Republicans went on the attack yesterday as the House opened floor debate on a sweeping package of new rules for Wall Street banks and traders, calling the legislation an unwarranted intrusion by government that will stifle economic recovery and do more harm than good," the Boston Globe writes. "But House Democratic leaders said they expected to have enough support to approve the measure when it comes to a vote, perhaps today. Democrats, seeking to deliver on a top priority President Obama outlined in June, say that irresponsible lending and risky trading on Wall Street that directly led to the economic crisis must be stopped. The sweeping legislation is the most significant overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s. It would create a federal agency to protect consumers from questionable loan practices, give government the power to seize control of financial institutions under certain circumstances if they are deemed 'too big to fail,' and require hedge fund traders to register with the government."
And… "House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Thursday indicated that a bill pushing for a major college football playoffs is not likely to receive a vote before the full committee. Waxman told The Hill that the voice vote on Wednesday to pass the bill through the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittee may have been enough to get the point across."