Skip to comments.Snowe Called to White House as GOP Stumbles on Health Care
Posted on 12/07/2009 8:15:53 AM PST by 2nd amendment mama
Over the weekend, the Senate continued debate on its version of the government takeover of health care with Republican “unanimous consent” cooperation on floor procedure.
Democrats fell into a rhythm of voting down Republican amendments to jettison the half-trillion dollars worth of Medicare cuts while passing their own -- garnering Republican votes (at times 100-0) on their amendments for political cover.
As early as today, they will begin consideration of an amendment to bar abortion funding by or through any government-run “public option” insurance plan. This issue still may be the one that kills the bill for the year. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson -- reportedly working on a provision like the Stupak Amendment included in the House bill -- still appears adamant on preventing abortion coverage.
On Saturday, President Obama visited the Senate Democrats to deliver a pep talk on the bill. Conspicuously absent from his remarks was any mention of the “public option.”
Does that mean the “public option” is dead? No, it just means the Democratic leaders are trying to sell it softly, behind closed doors.
The radical left Senate leadership continues its attempts in meetings behind closed doors to convince Democrat senators from red states that they won’t really be committing political suicide by voting in favor of the measure. By the end of this process, the $300 million “Louisiana Purchase” buyoff of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will likely appear cheap.
Democrats are focused on trying to peel off at least one of the two most liberal Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. On Saturday, Snowe was summoned to the White House for a chat with the president. Snowe says she opposes the government-run public option.
The crucial vote is for cloture to end debate on the bill and bring it to a final vote. Invoking cloture requires 60 votes and will be considered as a vote for the actual passage of the bill which only requires 50 with the Veep voting in favor to break a tie. Voting for cloture before voting against the bill won’t provide any protection for red state Democrats under close scrutiny by voters at home.
Democrats need Collins or Snowe to vote for cloture on the bill to provide political cover for Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) who will more likely than not get run out of office on a rail if she votes in favor of health care. A vote in favor of the bill by either Republican could allow Lincoln to vote against cloture.
The latest Rasmussen poll of likely Arkansas voters shows Lincoln trailing four possible Republican challengers with support ranging from a dismal 39-41 percent, a death knell for an incumbent.
Arkansas voters in the poll strongly oppose the Democrats’ health care plan by 56 percent while only 18 percent strongly favor passage.
The clock is ticking as crucial, “must pass” legislation will continue to pile up this week as the Senate is stuck on health care. For starters, the House will likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) this week to fund government past the December 18 drop dead date. Seven of the remaining 2010 appropriations bills that have not yet passed will be covered by the CR. The Senate cannot move to pass the CR without dumping health care unless they can get unanimous consent from Republicans. Without consent, there would be another 60-vote hurdle to bring health care back to the floor.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is short of the 60 votes needed to end debate and bring the bill up for a vote on final passage at this time. Reid remains in serious re-election trouble himself, still trailing possible Republican challengers by as much as 10 points in a new Mason-Dixon poll released late last week. The polling came on the heels of a six-week promotional media blitz by Reid at home. Ouch.
On Saturday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said in an interview in the Wall Street Journal that he still will not vote for cloture if there is a “public option” included in the bill.
“I'm being more stubborn and certain about this... I think it's such a significant step for the country to create another entitlement program and to have the government going into a business, I feel like I've got to say no,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman told the Journal that when he says no public option, he means no public option -- not an “opt-in” or an “opt out” or a “trigger” (a public option only comes into effect if private insurers fail to spread enough coverage).
“We are at the point now where this has become the classic legislative process of trying to get a fig leaf that everyone can hide behind,” Lieberman said. “And I don't want to do that.”
On Sunday, President Obama dropped in for half an hour to meet with Democrats behind closed doors. Obama reportedly delivered the same message to his comrades that former President Bill Clinton delivered last month: failure to pass the bill that the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose is the worst outcome. Uh-huh.
“The fact that the president of the United States is over meeting with Democrats only tells you where this debate has gone,” Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said of the closed-door meeting. “It's drifted off into a completely partisan effort.”
Republicans were not allowed to attend the meeting with the president.
CBO: Senate Health Care Bill Causes Insurance Premium Cost to Rise
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) set the record straight on the floor of the Senate when Democrats continued to misrepresent new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) numbers on the Senate health care bill’s impact on insurance premiums. The CBO found that the cost of premiums would rise faster if the Senate health care bill passes, an average of 10-13 percent in the individual market.
From the speech:
“On Monday the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to Senator Bayh that provides a comprehensive analysis of what health insurance premiums will look like as a result of the Reid bill. I’m starting to wonder if anyone actually read the letter. I hear a lot of people saying that this letter proves that premiums will go down under the Reid bill, even though that’s not what the letter says. So, I’m down here to tell people what the letter really says.
“The letter makes it very clear that premiums will increase on average by 10 to 13 percent for people buying coverage in the individual market. I’ve even brought down a chart to show everyone, just in case you missed it. The people who keep saying that premiums are going to go down conveniently forget to mention this 10 to 13 percent increase. They prefer to talk about the 57 percent of Americans in the individual market who would get subsidies. Yes, it’s true, the government is spending $500 billion to cover up the fact that this bill drives up premiums faster than current law. I repeat, premiums will go up faster under this bill. Supporters of this bill are just covering up this increase in costs by handing out subsidies. And if you’re one of the 14 million who don’t get a subsidy, you’re out of luck. You’re stuck with a plan that is 10 to 13 percent more expensive and an unprecedented new federal law that mandates you purchase insurance.
“Some may say that this is just the individual market. It only accounts for a small portion of the total market. Well, if you’re comfortable with 14 million people paying more under this bill than they would under current law, let’s look at the employer-based market. CBO’s analysis says that this bill maintains the status quo in the small group and large group insurance market. Is that really something worth celebrating? Are expectations so low at this point that Democrats are celebrating that this bill will increase premiums for some and maintain the status quo for everyone else? And I’m being generous in using the phrase “status quo” because this bill actually makes things worse for millions of people.”
Wonder what this one’s price will be.
Looks like another White House Snowe job in the making.
Hey Olympia, does Obama have any “identifying characteristics” like big Willy?
Sigh, and she won’t be punished in any way.
“Snowe says she opposes the government-run public option.”
She’ll be bought off for: 1) a tidy bundle of earmark $ for Maine; and/or 2) a promise of a “trigger” that would kick the government option in if private insurance rates don’t drop to some artificial level within 3 months.
Go on Snowe. Run your scrawny traitor butt up to the WH.
“Reform” is just another word for big government takeover.
The deathcare bill, cap & tax, and fraudenhagen accords
going to be a “trigger”....
But not in the way they think.
Oh,Mr.President,I’m not that pretty!
Something Grassley said some weeks ago leads me to believe he may end up being bought off. He’d commented (and I paraphrase) that “the Senate needs to clean this bill up so it doesn’t seem so centrally controlled.”
I’m a bit haunted by that, and I don’t fully trust Grassley to hold his ground, especially if Snowe sells out.
“...2) a promise of a trigger that would kick the government option in if private insurance rates dont drop to some artificial level within 3 months.”
The “trigger” is a non starter, too many extreme left wing Dems in the senate have already said they will not support it. If the “trigger” had been acceptable then it would have been included in Max Baucus’ Senate Finance Committee’s bill. Also, Pelosi said she will never support a “trigger” as part of a final bill.
Wholesale abandonment of the RNC.
“The clock is ticking as crucial, must pass legislation will continue to pile up this week as the Senate is stuck on health care. For starters, the House will likely pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) this week to fund government past the December 18 drop dead date.”
Wow, I wish they’d miss *that* date.
No comment, I don’t want to get banned.
Republicans were not allowed to attend the meeting with the president.
This is just flat out wrong. On the bright side, no payoffs for the Republicans.
Too late. This is all a poorly written play where we all happen to be bit actors, being paid scale. The fix has been in for quite some time. Make plans, NOW, for the changes that are about to come in this country and across the world.
Think outside of the box that we were born into. Your family and friends will need your help.
Leibermann has been on the mark about this. Said the public plan's intent is single payer. Libs cursed him for saying that late last week, but they cant contradict that point.
The radicals now controlling our nation seem to be completely oblivious to the growing anger in the public. I think their arrogance and elitism blinds them from realizing that they're *this* close to lighting a fuse on The People that they will not be able to extinguish.
If the Socialists pass Obamacare, or try to implement draconian and punitive carbon "fees" on business and industry, there will be widespread civil disobedience at the very least.
The public reaction to them attempting either one of these power grabs might be even worse than that. We could very well see several states revolt against the federal gov't via the 10th Amendment, or even declare secession.
Citizen anger could erupt into massive demonstrations in DC, and could even become violent. They are playing with fire here, and seem completely unaware of the consequences.