In his first year, President Obama's most significant domestic agenda item has been the development and enactment of a Healthcare bill. The Healthcare bill, which was first floated in the summer, has been plagued by delays and Congressional holdouts. Recently, it has begun to take shape and both houses of Congress have readied their bills. Many pundits expect that the Healthcare bill will be passed and signed by President Obama in the next month or so.
There are a few hurdles before enactment. Each chamber of the US legislative branch -- the Senate and House – have different versions of the Healthcare bill. US law says that the discrepancies have to be remedied through a process called Conference. The Conference committee ordinarily consists of leaders in the Senate and House. These leaders hammer out a compromise bill and then offer the remedied bill to their respective chambers.
Each chamber of Congress then brings the compromise bill up for a vote. Ordinarily, the vote is a formality since each party and each chambers’ leadership teams obtain approval from all concerned in advance of the vote.
This series of give and take negotiations provides an opportunity for certain politicians. A January 4, 2010 report published on Talking Points Memo says that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is conditioning their support for the Healthcare bill. The condition is that the White House takes up CIR this year.
Rep. Gutierrez, who introduced CIR ASAP in December, heads the CHC. His CIR ASAP contains many measures that are friendly to the immigration of healthcare professionals.