If the speedy manner in which the House debated, voted on, and passed its version of health reform legislation seems too good to be true, it’s not. The House rules are constructed in such a way that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to steer the process through quickly once the time was right. Unfortunately, the Senate rules are much less conducive to a timely vote, which is why we’ll be lucky to see Senate passage by Christmas. More than likely, we’re looking at early 2010.
So what is it about the Senate that throws a wrench in the works? For that, I point you to Suzy Khimm’s article in TNR. She lays it all out clearly, and there’s not much use in my rehashing it here. Suffice it to say that there are a number of procedural “choke points” that pose problems to making progress towards a vote.