Skip to comments.Democrats Seal Majority to Advance Health Care Bill on 60-39 Vote
Posted on 11/21/2009 6:03:14 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
(McConnell: It's a 'Monstrosity of a Bill') (GOP: 'This Is Not True Health Care Reform')
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Invoking the memory of Edward M. Kennedy, Democrats united Saturday night to push historic health care legislation past a key Senate hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama. There was not a vote to spare.
The 60-39 vote cleared the way for a bruising, full-scale debate beginning after Thanksgiving on the legislation, which is designed to extend coverage to roughly 31 million who lack it, crack down on insurance company practices that deny or dilute benefits and curtail the growth of spending on medical care nationally.
The spectator galleries were full for the unusual Saturday night showdown, and applause broke out briefly when the vote was announced. In a measure of the significance of the moment, senators sat quietly in their seats, standing only when they were called upon to vote.
In the final minutes of a daylong session, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused Republicans of trying to stifle a historic debate the nation needed.
"Imagine if, instead of debating whether to abolish slavery, instead of debating whether giving women and minorities the right to vote, those who disagreed had muted discussion and killed any vote," he said.
The Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the vote was anything but procedural - casting it as a referendum on the bill itself, which he said would raise taxes, cut Medicare and create a "massive and unsustainable debt."
For all the drama, the result of the Saturday night showdown had been sealed a few hours earlier, when two final Democratic holdouts, Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, announced they would join in clearing the way for a full debate.
"It is clear to me that doing nothing is not an option," said Landrieu, who won $100 million in the legislation to help her state pay the costs of health care for the poor.
Lincoln, who faces a tough re-election next year, said the evening vote will "mark the beginning of consideration of this bill by the U.S. Senate, not the end."
Both stressed they were not committing in advance to vote for the bill that ultimately emerges from next month's debate.
Of particular contentiousness to moderates is a provision for the government to sell insurance in competition with private companies, subject to state approval - a part of Reid's bill expected to come under significant pressure as the debate unfolds.
Even so, their announcements marked a major victory for Reid and the White House in a year-end drive to enact the most sweeping changes to the nation's health care system in a half-century or more.
At the White House, press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying the president was gratified by the vote, which he says "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 legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide subsidies to those who couldn't afford it. Large companies could incur costs if they did not provide coverage to their workforce. The insurance industry would come under significant new regulation under the bill, which would first ease and then ban the practice of denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions.
Congressional budget analysts put the legislation's cost at $979 billion over a decade and said it would reduce deficits over the same period while extending coverage to 94 percent of the eligible population.
At its core, the legislation would create insurance exchanges beginning in 2014 where individuals, most of them lower income and uninsured, would shop for coverage. The bill sets aside hundreds of billions of dollars in tax credits to help those earning up to 400 percent of poverty, $88,200 for a family of four.
The House approved its version of the bill earlier this month on a near party line vote of 220-215, and Reid has said he wants the Senate to follow suit by year's end. Timing on any final compromise was unclear.
All 58 Senate Democrats and two independents voted to advance the bill. All 39 votes in opposition were cast by Republicans. GOP Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio was the only senator not to vote. Montana Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee who has labored on health care for more than a year, flew in from his home state on a government plane for the vote and was returning afterward to be with his ailing mother.
While timing made Landrieu and Lincoln the final two Democrats to announce their intentions, Sen. Paul Kirk of Massachusetts had a clear claim as the 60th vote.
Appointed to office this fall after the death of Kennedy, who championed health care issues for decades, Kirk said he spoke for those "who for so many years revered and loved and elected and re-elected (him) ... that I think they're all - they all, as we do, have him in our minds and our hearts tonight. ..."
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., echoed those sentiments later in the evening when he referred to Kennedy's "lifelong quest" for national health care and said "tonight and in the days to come we will pay him the highest compliment by fulfilling that" goal.
At a post-vote news conference, Reid said he had telephoned Kennedy's widow, Vicki, with the news.
In hours of debate before the Saturday evening vote, a few Republicans piled copies of the 2,0974-page bill on their desks while others criticized it as a government takeover of health care and worse.
"Move over, Bernie Madoff. Tip your hat to a trillion-dollar scam," said Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., likening the bill's supporters to the imprisoned investor who fleeced millions.
In her remarks, Landrieu said, "I've decided that there are enough significant reforms and safeguards in this bill to move forward, but much more work needs to be done." She also touted the $100 million included in the legislation to help her state cover its costs under Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor.
Lincoln referred repeatedly to the political controversy surrounding the issue. She said $3.3 million has already been spent by outside groups advertising either for or against health care legislation, and said, "these outside groups seem to think that this is all about my re-election. I simply think they don't know me very well."
To finance the expanded coverage, Reid proposed higher taxes as well as cuts totaling hundreds of billions of dollars in projected Medicare payments. Hardest hit would be the private insurance Medicare plans, although providers such as home health agencies would also receive significantly less in future years than now estimated.
The bill raises payroll taxes on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Reid eased the impact of an earlier proposal to tax high-value insurance plans, which has emerged as one of the principal methods for restraining the growth in health costs.
The bill includes tax increases on insurance companies, medical device makers, patients electing to undergo cosmetic surgery and drugmakers.
Nevada? Get RID of this jerk!!
VOTE OUT EVERYONE WHO VOTED “YEA”. They voted against our country tonight.
“The bill includes tax increases on insurance companies, medical device makers, patients electing to undergo cosmetic surgery and drugmakers.”
Yes and guess who pays for all these. We do.
Sister Mary Landrieu, I can only hope that you join Teddy by the fire sooner rather than later. You are a blight on a great State.
spineless.... Acorn wins this skirmish
My boss just got a pacemaker/defib put in last month. She voted for 0bama (but has also voted for Republicans in the past; go figure!)
I reminded her today that ‘Her President’ considers her a ‘useless feeder’ and she was lucky to get in under the wire, LOL!
Luckily, she thinks I’m kidding, so I can get away with this kind of stuff...
Stand by for the nuclear option!
Obama, you CAN and WILL go to hell!
Mitch McConnell was on Mark Levin last nite and said he had ‘40’ votes and just needed one more. This says 59-38....who held out or jumped?
We now know FOR A FACT that Landrieu is a wh@re. We also now know FOR A FACT that her rate is $100 million dollars.
No way do Dems want to own this turkey.
L & L everyone.
No, GOP. We don't want ANY health care reform. All we want is tort reform and a rollback of government regulations that have produced monstrous piles of paperwork and impeded insurance companies from crossing state lines.
NO GOVERNMENT HEALTH "REFORM." Just get out of the way.
Muslims tend to go that way.
How did Lieberman vote? I thought he wanted nothing to do with this bill?
Maybe he was referring to Lieberman as the 40th?
They should hurry it up, so they can claim their 72 Helen Thomas’s
Sister Mary Landrieu is a politician. The job of a whore is respectable. I would far rather tell my Mama that my wife had become a whore instead of a politician.
Besides, I can see paying Sister May Landrieu for a vote. There is no one on God's green earth who would pay to have sex with that fat cow.
Voting yes were 58 Democrats, 2 independents.
Lieberman caved. But, maybe it was just to get it to the floor so it could be killed?
Senate Roll Call: Health Care
The 60-39 roll call Saturday by which the Senate voted to advance a measure overhauling health care to a full debate.
A “yes” vote is a vote to allow the legislation to advance for a full debate. A 60-vote majority was required for approval.
Voting yes were 58 Democrats, 2 independents.
Voting no were 0 Democrats and 39 Republicans.
Sessions (R), No; Shelby (R), No.
Begich (D), Yes; Murkowski (R), No.
Kyl (R), No; McCain (R), No.
Lincoln (D), Yes; Pryor (D), Yes.
Boxer (D), Yes; Feinstein (D), Yes.
Bennet (D), Yes; Udall (D), Yes.
Dodd (D), Yes; Lieberman (I), Yes.
Carper (D), Yes; Kaufman (D), Yes.
LeMieux (R), No; Nelson (D), Yes.
Chambliss (R), No; Isakson (R), No.
Akaka (D), Yes; Inouye (D), Yes.
Crapo (R), No; Risch (R), No.
Burris (D), Yes; Durbin (D), Yes.
Bayh (D), Yes; Lugar (R), No.
Grassley (R), No; Harkin (D), Yes.
Brownback (R), No; Roberts (R), No.
Bunning (R), No; McConnell (R), No.
Landrieu (D), Yes; Vitter (R), No.
Collins (R), No; Snowe (R), No.
Cardin (D), Yes; Mikulski (D), Yes.
Kerry (D), Yes; Kirk (D), Yes.
Levin (D), Yes; Stabenow (D), Yes.
Franken (D), Yes; Klobuchar (D), Yes.
Cochran (R), No; Wicker (R), No.
Bond (R), No; McCaskill (D), Yes.
Baucus (D), Yes; Tester (D), Yes.
Johanns (R), No; Nelson (D), Yes.
Ensign (R), No; Reid (D), Yes.
Gregg (R), No; Shaheen (D), Yes.
Lautenberg (D), Yes; Menendez (D), Yes.
Bingaman (D), Yes; Udall (D), Yes.
Gillibrand (D), Yes; Schumer (D), Yes.
Burr (R), No; Hagan (D), Yes.
Conrad (D), Yes; Dorgan (D), Yes.
Brown (D), Yes; Voinovich (R), Not voting.
Coburn (R), No; Inhofe (R), No.
Merkley (D), Yes; Wyden (D), Yes.
Casey (D), Yes; Specter (D), Yes.
Reed (D), Yes; Whitehouse (D), Yes.
DeMint (R), No; Graham (R), No.
Johnson (D), Yes; Thune (R), No.
Alexander (R), No; Corker (R), No.
Cornyn (R), No; Hutchison (R), No.
Bennett (R), No; Hatch (R), No.
Leahy (D), Yes; Sanders (I), Yes.
Warner (D), Yes; Webb (D), Yes.
Cantwell (D), Yes; Murray (D), Yes.
Byrd (D), Yes; Rockefeller (D), Yes.
Feingold (D), Yes; Kohl (D), Yes.
Barrasso (R), No; Enzi (R), No.
LOL! You got me, there. :)
Is anybody really shocked that this passed? Moreover, is anyone wondering why the democrats don’t seem concerned about the political fallout? Could it be that they know that the next bill through will 1)create nationwide automatic voter registration; and 2) grant immunity and voting rights to illegals thereby obviating the need for the democrats to fear political fallout? Yep, part two of this is coming up. But hey, at least we punished those Republicans in ‘06 and ‘08.
Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs ---60 Akaka (D-HI)
NAYs ---39 Alexander (R-TN)
Not Voting - 1 Voinovich (R-OH)
*I'm also pissed, drinking and ready for battle. For those of you that didn't see the 'line in the sand' months ago, this should hit you in the face full throttle 'WAR' has and is being declared on "Americans".
What is Voinovich’s reason?
"Nimrod has since ancient times traditionally been considered the creator of the Tower of Babel.I would think that Reid is probably more like Nimrod's "Lord High Priest!"
He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power."
“But hey, at least we punished those Republicans in 06 and 08.”
You betcha, Flip! I was one of the few that b*tched long and loudly about the last election cycle and the ‘patriots’ that sat on their hands at the time!!
But, in reality, getting Republicans on the same page is like herding cats. And in some ways that’s good because we are all independent and hard working and don’t have TIME to do anything political (other than b*Tch about it) because we’re all ‘Good Little Capitalists’ who are out making a buck and paying our taxes so the indigent and lazy can stay home and do nothing all d@mn day.
In reality, we’re a bunch of SUCKERS. I’m getting tired of pulling this wagon that just gets heavier with the DEAD WEIGHT of ‘My Fellow Americans’ with each passing day.
*SIGH* But I’m on your side, if that means anything. :)
Ths AP - Davisd Espo propaganda piece has already been posted !
Your enormous brain is extremely sexy. :)
But, really. NOT NOW! We. Are. At. War. I don’t want to play Trivial Pursuit.
And besides, I always win. Ask anybody. ;)
Tell the Admin Mod to pull my post, then. I did a search.
She touted a $100 million dollar bribe????? Whoa, this country is long overdue for term limits.
Dittos........what the hell? This is a 'weak link' and Joe Liebermann....in spite of what anyone thinks...is a good man. I say we target them. But I'm still wondering about Voinovich...WTF?
Thank you for organizing the information. Great job!
well I don’t care that much . its just a FYI.
Thanks but I can’t credit for the data organization. It was nothing more than copying the source code and pasting it into the posting window.
Your's too! But, wars have ended when nations no longer had resources to continue fighting.
I fear the death panels will be looking into ideology and lineage about the time you and I stand before them.
But now all it needs to pass is a simple majority, not 60 votes or am I wrong on that?
Certainly much better qualities than Reid!!
Jan 19 is another chance to send the RATS a message.It's the special election to replace Ted Kennedy. Imagine if the voters are so mad the RATS lose the seat in MASSACHUSETTS? It would not only strip them of the critical 60th vote but truly terrorize the Rats and Rino's.
Of course a win would be absolutely unprecedented but then again with 17% real unemployment , the Country hugely in debt and a power hungry congress intent on ignoring the People I think we have a chance. The real problem is putting an end to "the fix". They WILL try and steal it.
If you live in Mass. volunteer to be an election judge and get to know election law. Work in a RAT district . They probably don't have many Republicans there. Learn how elections are stolen and what to look for. Pulling out a win in this hornets nest of commies would be just the thing to save America.
I have been helping a neighbor navigate though the process of having cataracts removed, not so complicated but quite time consuming with various checkups, medication etc. I am thinking how fortunate for her that she is getting this done now before the same panel that is reigning in pap smears and mammograms gets around to pushing for more stringent control over cataract surgery which is a huge Medicare expenditure. Like raising age requirements or being closer to becoming blind before qualifying. I heard a senator on CSpan say in effect that the panel has the authority to add or subtract and modify at their discretion what is in this bill. As I see it, the content of the bill does not really matter as it will be tinkered with and amended beyond recognition even after final passage and those who think they are safe need to understand that nobody will escape the consequences of this socialist takeover of the health industry.
You’re wrong on that. It still needs 60 votes for cloture (vote to stop debate).
There's an old saying on FR. LIEberman wrestles with his conscience... and his conscience always loses. :-)
Hell, No! I Won’t Go! ;)