October 13, 2009

Olympia Snowe said she would vote for the Baucus bill and she did.

She has voted and the bill has passed 14-9.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) was the lone Republican to support the package. "My vote today is my vote today. It doesn't forecast what my vote will be tomorrow," she said, although her vote does keep her at the negotiating table and at the center of the health care reform debate. Snowe risked marginalizing herself with a no vote.

The year after both Truman and Clinton's failed efforts, the Republican Party retook control of Congress and any hope of reform faded to minority status. President Obama intends to avoid the same fate.

With the bill having officially moved through the panel, deliberations will migrate to the Capitol, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will huddle with Senate leaders to merge the finance bill with a more generous version from the health committee which passed earlier this year.

There are more votes to come in the Senate, so this thing is far from over.

And she is getting heat from the GOP for her vote and are looking to strip her of a chance at a chairmanship. Adam Green writes:

From The Hill, "Sens: Snowe may be risking a high perch on healthcare reform vote":

Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) is risking a shot at becoming the top Republican on an influential Senate committee by backing Democratic healthcare legislation, according to senators on the panel.

..."A vote for healthcare would be something that would weigh on our minds when it came time to vote," said a Republican on Commerce, who said Snowe would otherwise be assured of the ranking member post if not for the healthcare debate.

Wow. The GOP is doing something to her that we've been asking Harry Reid to do to Holy Joe. Remember when we asked Reid to strip Joe of his chairmanship because he campaigned with McCain?

Harry told us that Lieberman is with the Dems on everything except the war?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday he's still trying to keep Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman within the Democratic caucus despite anger over Lieberman's support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

While he has opposed Democratic efforts to end the war in Iraq, "Joe Lieberman votes with me a lot more than a lot of my senators," Reid told CNN's "Late Edition."

Here's Joe attacking the public option.

Lieberman is a big NO on the Public Option, now calls it 'universal access' for health care. I'm NOT kidding

Lieberman has been standing in the way of health-care reform all along.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman affirmed on Tuesday what progressive health care reform advocates have long feared: At this juncture, he is likely to oppose a public option for health insurance coverage.


For Democrats, it was a shot to the gut -- the latest so-called centrist lawmaker from within their own party ranks speaking out against one of their most cherished aspects of health care reform. For all the angst Lieberman has caused within Democratic circles the past few years, he was supposed to be an ally on domestic issues.

He also joined the Republicans when they said they wanted to slow things down.

We want Lieberman stripped if he stands in the way of an up-or-down vote, but as usual the Democratic leadership refuses to dig in.

From Politico, "Dem leaders brush off the left":

Now, more than 79,000 people have signed a Progressive Change Campaign Committee petition urging Reid to strip the chairmanship of any Democratic senator who votes to filibuster health care reform.

The response from Reid’s No. 2, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): "We’ve never done that. We’re not going to do that."

Durbin said the petitioners needed to "count to 60 and understand we need to be together, and there are times when we need to work out our differences."

"This is a silly and unnecessary distraction that is not going to happen — period," added a Senate Democratic leadership aide. "Given how important this is to the rest of his agenda, it is up to President Obama to help the leadership to hold the caucus together."

The GOP threatens Snowe and the Dems do nothing to the appeasers of the obstructionist right. It's infuriating.

It's all about that up-or-down vote, and it's something we need to push hard on, as Digby says:

Anyway, those last comments probably tell us where the filibuster issue is, in my opinion. The leadership aide says that Obama needs to step up to twist those arms, which one assumes from the comment, he is not doing. And Dick Durbin, who is Obama's staunchest supporter in the Senate, is basically saying that nobody's going to play hardball. So, there you have it. At least for today.

As I've been writing for a while, it's all about cloture. There's no need for them to vote for the final bill, they just need to allow their president and the people of the United States to have a simple up or down vote on health care reform. And there is a cluster of egos in the centrist caucus (not the least of whom is Holy Joe) that is getting ready to stamp their little feet and hold their breath until they turn blue unless someone, goddamn it, finally understands that they are the most important people in the world.

Please sign Adam Green's petition to Harry Reid:

I'd expect weakness from Reid and lameness from Lieberman/Bayh/Landrieu. Dick Durbin being completely unstrategic -- I wouldn't have expected that as much. Shame on him. Tomorrow, the PCCC delivers our petitions to Harry Reid telling him to get a backbone. Sign it here.

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