Monday, December 07, 2009

Yesterday's Senate Heathcare Debate In A Nutshell


I love getting mail from Republicans

Today the Senate will be debating Ben Nelson's anti-choice amendment-- as he and the Republicans use their quest to roll back the clock on this explosive, emotionally charged issue as a way of derailing healthcare reform on behalf of their corporate paymasters. A twofer! It should probably be voted on tomorrow and it is expected to lose. Nelson says he will filibuster the overall health reform bill if he isn't allowed to harm women's access to safe abortions. What a public servant! What a guy! What a... Democrat! I hope everyone in Nebraska who, for whatever reason, has ever voted for this corrupt vermin is proud of themselves.

There were two amendments voted on yesterday that I twittered about in real time. First up was one that, on its face, was remarkable because Arkansas corporate shill Blanche Lincoln voted for it-- let along sponsored it! S. Amdt 2786 was meant to-- or at least seem like it was meant to-- "modify the limit on excessive remuneration paid by certain health insurance providers to set the limit at the same levels as the salary of the President of the United States." It would have prevented Insurance companies doing more than a quarter of their business with the government from claiming excessive executive salaries as tax deductions. Presumably this is supposed to persuade Lincoln's crumbling Democratic base back home that she's isn't really one of the Senate's worst corporate whores.

Needing 60 votes to pass, it failed 56-42. Although Olympia Snowe joined the Democrats on this and-- concerned about his own horrifying image as a lackey-- even Ben Nelson voted for it. Joining the GOP and killing the amendment were Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kent Conrad (D-ND), and, of course, Lieberman (I-CT).

Next up was an amendment offered by far right religious cult member and sexual predator John Ensign (R-NV)-- still refusing to resign-- that was meant to further debilitate consumers seeks legal redress from faulty medical care. Republicans call it tort reform and I was shocked that so many Republicans-- a dozen-- voted against it. It failed 32-66 only ConservaDems Kay Hagan (NC), Herb Kohl (WI), Lincoln (AR) and Warner (VA)-- + Lieberman, of course, joining the bulk of Republicans.

The big news, though, was Obama's trip to the Senate to meet with Democrats about the healthcare debate. He asked them "to put aside their fierce policy differences and to make history by passing landmark health care legislation."
Mr. Obama urged the Democrats in a private meeting “to finish the job” and warned that the “most costly outcome for all is a failure to finish,” according to officials in the room.

“His message was very simple,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the assistant majority leader. “He reminded us why we are here. He reminded us why we run for office. And he reminded us how many people are counting on us to come through.”

Mr. Durbin added: “He urged us to get the job done and said he is ready to help us.”

To close debate on the bill and move to a final vote, the Democrats need the backing of all 60 members of their caucus-- 58 Democrats and two independents. So far no Republican senator has expressed support for the measure, and at least four Democrats are warning that they might vote against it.

While the floor fight has pitted Democrats against Republicans on a wide array of elements in the legislation, the real battle is taking place internally among Democrats, who remain divided over crucial issues, including a proposal to create a government-run health insurance plan, and provisions relating to insurance coverage for abortions.

Obama steered clear of the issues he sees as divisive and threatening to keep a bill from passing, something he knows-- and the GOP knows-- would be absolutely devastating politically. Afterwards 5 reactionaries and 5 progressives met to see if something could be worked out regarding the tattered remains of what was once the public option, which the nefarious, gloating Lieberman says he will oppose no matter what. (Lucky he's with us on everything but the war.)

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At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Lee said...

Liebermans just a self serving dick. But there's something really nefarious about Ben Nelson that I can't put me finger on. And his anti choice stance is really scary to me.Because with someone like Ben Nelson in power, it won't stop there. I wonder if he's figured out some way to make money off of un wanted pregnancies.

I've never had an abortion.Legal or not. But my middle sister got pregnant in college in the early sixties. She was blind folded and never saw the face of the Dr ( pretty sure it was a Dr)We are never going to stop them and it makes me really angry that we continue to debate the same issues about abortion over and over and over.
Its truly a distraction..

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I keep hoping Loserman's dewlaps will flip up over his nostrils and he'll just suffocate...


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