The NYT has more details:Democratic leaders said Thursday that they were increasingly inclined to release a final health-care bill that could accomplish two of President Obama's top domestic priorities: guaranteeing coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans and vastly expanding federal aid for college students
Key Senate Democrats initially balked at combining the health-reform bill with a measure that overhauls the nation's student-loan program, but on Thursday they had warmed to the idea.
What the **** is this bull****? Not only is the idea facially absurd, they're even contradicting themselves about the rationale. First they say that without lumping the student loans in with health care, the student loans wouldn't get past the filibuster, but then they say that lumping them together will help health care because the student loan bill is popular.The deal would bundle the bill into an expedited budget package along with the Democratic health care legislation, which would allow for both measures to be passed by the Senate on a simple majority vote. Without the deal, the student loan bill would have been unlikely to pass because it lacked the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
House Democrats predicted that packaging the two proposals in an expedited budget reconciliation bill would help them secure the needed votes on health care because the financial aid bill is popular. In September, the House adopted that bill, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, by a vote of 253 to 171.
Can anyone offer a reasonable explanation for why these two bills need to be lumped together and shoved through as one reconciliation project?