Congress poised to vote on budget resolution

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The House and Senate are preparing to vote on a budget resolution agreement that includes instructions to fast-track healthcare reform legislation through the Senate.

Democrats in Congress Monday night settled on a $3.5 trillion budget plan that would allow for the reconciliation process for healthcare reform. The process essentially would prevent Republicans from blocking the legislation. Democrats would only need 51 votes rather than 60 to pass reforms when they come up this fall, according to The New York Times. Long-term care providers have been lobbying Congress to consider the long-term care and post-acute care systems in its reform efforts.  

The budget, which also includes funding for clean energy and other domestic programs, is set to take effect on October 1. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) says the budget is good, though much has yet to be done to slow spending, especially in healthcare. Democrats have expressed interest in continuing bipartisan discussions on healthcare reform, though reserve the right to fast-track legislation if negotiations become too partisan, the Times reports.