Senate Votes to Start Healthcare Debate

Harry Reid Can't Wait To Water Down Healthcare Bill

Harry Reid Can't Wait To Water Down Healthcare Bill

In a straight party line vote, the Senate voted to bring the healthcare reform bill to debate this past Saturday, meaning that a vote on the bill won’t happen long after Thanksgiving.

After months of talk about moderate Democrats potentially defecting, the rollcall vote on whether or not to bring the healthcare bill to the floor ended 60-39 with every Senator voting with their own party.

How did the Democrats keep moderate Democrats like Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu from joining the Republicans? Cha-ching.

Just as the Democrats used earmarks to buy Democratic votes for the TARP bailout bill last year, the same tactic was used to ensure that there would be no defectors.

Landrieu, for example, received a whopping $300 million in federal aid for Louisiana in return for her vote. Ironically, the vote was not even on the bill itself.

While a Republican filibuster could still stop the plan from receiving a vote, it is likely that all of the Senators who voted in with the Democrats on Saturday (and possibly Republican Senator Olympia Snowe who voted against the measure) will vote against the filibuster.

The Democrats need 60 votes only to prevent a filibuster, they do not need Senators like Landrieu to vote for the bill because passage requires only a majority vote. One would think, however, that for $300 million Landrieu at least owes them a “Yea” vote on the bill.

The bill may be coming to the Senate after Thanksgiving but it will undoubtedly be watered down, it will definitely not cover all Americans as it originally promised, and it will still have to be reconciled with the House bill that passed earlier this month.

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