Sweeping health care legislation has cleared its first hurdle in the full Senate on a party-line vote.
The 60-39 vote clears the way for a historic debate after Thanksgiving on the legislation. The measure is designed to extend coverage to an estimated 31 million Americans who lack it and crack down on insurance industry practices that deny benefits.
The White House released a statement saying, “The President is gratified that the Senate has acted to begin consideration of health insurance reform legislation. Tonight’s historic vote brings us one step closer to ending insurance company abuses, reining in spiraling health care costs, providing stability and security to those with health insurance, and extending quality health coverage to those who lack it. The President looks forward to a thorough and productive debate.”
The rare Saturday session amounted to a first round in the fight to pass the bill in the full Senate, with the remaining Democratic holdouts announcing they would support at least the measure to open debate on the bill, avoiding an early knockout by Republicans.
Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana waited until Saturday to say they would vote yes for a floor debate. Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced Friday his support for moving the bill forward.
All three cautioned that their votes to start debate should not be construed a support for the bill in its current form.
“It is a vote to move forward to continue the good and essential and important and imperative work that is under way,” Landrieu said on the Senate floor. “I’ve decided that there’s enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward but more work needs to be done.”
Lincoln said she still would support a filibuster if the so-called “public option,” a government-run insurance plan, remains in the health care bill.
“I along with others expect to have legitimate opportunities to influence the health care reform legislation that is voted on by the Senate later this year or early next year,” she said.
While the vote is only a procedural one, Republicans haven’t backed down.
“This is a vote about whether or not you want to fundamentally change the way health care is delivered in this country in a way which massively expands the size of government, the role of government and significantly increases the tax burden, especially for small businesses and cuts Medicare by a dramatic amount of money,” Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., told Fox News before Saturday’s session began.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill “monstrous” and, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said it would not bring down costs.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, now Harry Reid’s passing out taxpayer funded bribes to jam this health care travesty through.
Facing fallout from an apparent sale of her health care vote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Caucus, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) took a shocking approach in response to the payoff allegations: she flaunted it!
To help secure her vote, Reid included a provision in the bill sought by Landrieu to provide increased Medicaid funds for states recovering from major disasters such as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. When the bill is closely examined, however, the provision provides immense financial support for only one state: Landrieu’s Louisiana.
Landrieu defended the inclusion of the provision and said Republican critics who accuse her of selling her vote for $100 million are wrong and that she has the support of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Then, in a statement sure to be repeated by Republicans endlessly over the coming weeks of Senate health care debate, the senator flaunted the inclusion of the provision. “I will correct something. It’s not $100 million, it’s $300 million, and I’m proud of it and will keep fighting for it,” Landrieu told reporters after her floor speech. “But that is not why I started this health care debate; I started this health care debate for all the reasons I just mentioned in my statement” on the floor.
The apparent purchase of the senator’s vote is already garnering significant response from Republicans as well as taxpayers footing the bill for this provision. The nickname for the provision? “The Louisiana Purchase.”
Unreal, this is just out of control. Never in U.S. legislative history have so many been screwed by so few, at such a high cost.
Historic health care bill clears Senate hurdle
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Biden says Senate handed Obama a big victory
Senator Corker Reacts to Senate Health Care Vote
Senate moves health care bill forward for debate
FACTBOX: Details of Senate healthcare reform bill
Landrieu votes in favor of health care debate
GOP hits Landrieu for $100 million ‘new Louisiana Purchase’
Thanks to100 million dollar bribe, Healthcare reform cloture passes Senate!
/trillions of taxpayer dollars, added to the national debt, so we can all pay more, to wait longer, for less health care, whee!
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Bobby Jindal, Bribe, CBO, Congressional Budget Office, Debate, Democratic Caucus, Democrats, Filibuster, H.R. 3590, Harry Reid, Health Care, Health Care Legislation, Health Care Reform, Hurricane Katrina, Judd Gregg, Kathleen Sebelius, Louisiana, Mary Landrieu, Medicaid, Medicare, Mitch McConnell, New Orleans, Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, Public Option, Republicans, Single Payer Health Care, Socialized Medicine, The Louisiana Purchase, U.S. Senate, White House | 1 Comment »