Rich Galen

I am not breaking my arm patting myself on the back. I've been doing this long enough to know that when it comes to predictions, I am correct precisely 50 percent of the time.

The end of the fight to defeat this health care bill came at about four o'clock Sunday afternoon when the President promised Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) that he would sign an Executive Order banning the use of Federal money to fund abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

When Stupak agreed to the langue in the Executive Order as an acceptable safety net for the pro-life Democrats in the House, the issue was resolved.

Sean Hannity FREE

There are several steps left to go before this is done.

The Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate have to sign the official copy of the legislation which will then carried to the White House where it will be signed, with justifiable flourish, by President Obama. That satisfies Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution which provides that, Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it …

But, the bill which the House passed was the exact bill which was adopted by the Senate - including the Cornhusker kick-back and a tax on so-called "Cadillac health care plans" which many in the House don't like. Dear Mr. Mullings:

This is where my head begins to hurt. Why did the House go through all this? Why didn't they just pass the bill they wanted and come up with a bill both Chambers would accept in a Conference between them? F.I.L.I.B.U.S.T.E.R.

With the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass) in January, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) lost his 60-vote filibuster-proof majority. That meant that a bill passed by the House which was not identical to the bill already adopted by the Senate would be effectively killed by Senate Republicans.

My head doesn't hurt any less. So, what's with this whole reconciliation thing?

I'm on shaky ground here, but the main point is: Budget resolutions and bills which "reconcile" spending to fit within a budget resolution are not subject to filibuster and so need only a majority of those voting (51 Senators if everyone is working that day).

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at