Archive for Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health bill clears final 60-vote hurdle in Senate, final vote expected Christmas Eve

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, accompanied by Senate Democrats, accepts congratulations from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, during a health care news conference Wednesday, Dec. 23, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, accompanied by Senate Democrats, accepts congratulations from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, during a health care news conference Wednesday, Dec. 23, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

December 23, 2009

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Exultant Senate Democrats pushed President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul past a final procedural hurdle Wednesday, setting up a Christmas Eve vote to pass the legislation extending coverage to 30 million Americans.

Democrats voted 60-39 to end a GOP filibuster and move to a final vote Thursday. All 58 Democrats and two independents hung together against unanimous Republican opposition.

It was the 24th day of debate on the 10-year, nearly $1 trillion bill.

“It is now only hours until this Senate will pass meaningful health care reform,” said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont.

“It has been a long time coming,” Baucus said. “I thank God that I have lived to see this day.”

House, Senate bills differ

It was the third time Democrats have put up 60 votes on procedural measures since Monday. Final passage requires just a simple majority so Democrats should triumph easily. It will be a big victory for Obama and the Democrats, although the Senate bill will still have to be reconciled with a House-passed version before Obama could sign a final package.

There are some thorny differences between the two chambers, including stiffer abortion curbs in the House bill and a new government-run insurance plan in the House bill that’s not in the Senate version.

The sweeping legislation, crafted over months of laborious negotiations, would dramatically remake the country’s health care system with new requirements for nearly everyone to purchase insurance. The government would provide subsidies to help lower-income people pay for coverage. Unpopular insurance company practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions would be banned.

GOP reaction

Powerless to stop the bill, Republicans stepped up their attacks, contending the sweeping bill threatened to harm Medicare and add billions to the deficit.

“Tomorrow the Senate will vote on a bill that makes a bad situation worse,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said on the Senate floor. “This bill slid rapidly down the slippery slope to more and more government control of health care.”

The final vote is now set for 7 a.m. Thursday, not 8 a.m. as agreed to earlier in the week. It had originally been scheduled for 7 p.m., but Republicans agreed not to use all their debate time so they could leave town earlier for the holidays and avoid bad weather looming in the midwest. On Wednesday, senators advanced the vote from 8 a.m. to 7 a.m. Thursday. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., suggested moving it up some more and holding it Wednesday night, but Republicans didn’t agree to that.

Historic vote

The last time the Senate voted on Christmas Eve was Dec. 24, 1895, on a military affairs bill concerning employment of former Confederate officers, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Democrats also cast several votes Wednesday turning back points of order raised against the bill by Republicans, including one by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., questioning the constitutionality of requiring most every American to buy health insurance.

Away from Capitol Hill, special deals on Medicaid obtained by some Democrats — notably Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who provided the crucial 60th vote — continued to provoke grumbling. Under the Senate bill the federal government will pay the entire cost of an expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska, unlike other states, which will have to start picking up a portion of the tab themselves after several years.

In New York, state Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos sent a letter to the attorney general and the governor urging them to join other states, including South Carolina, that are considering legal challenges over the issues.

Comments

Centerville 5 years, 4 months ago

So when can I stop paying for my health insurance?

BlackVelvet 5 years, 4 months ago

so much for the United States of America.....now it will be the socialist states of Obama!

N_Trenched 5 years, 4 months ago

sOcialism is the great equalizer! Everyone is equally deprived of free will and choice.

bailoutnation 5 years, 4 months ago

And to all the fiscally responsible people who didn't live beyond their means, who stayed at the jobs they could not stand, who paid their bills instead of went on vacations, who don't qualify for government handouts, you get......drum roll......ABSOLUTLY NOTHING! Except, higher health care costs.

james bush 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm mad as he)) and I'm not going to take it anymore...............what else can I say, except Harry Reid should be*&&%$$##%&&^!

jayhawkframer 5 years, 4 months ago

I guess the Dems in congress think they know what every American wants. If this is such a great health care system then why don't they drop there program and join the rest of us tax paying American's. It's time for the voters to clean house next election.

james bush 5 years, 4 months ago

PS...........I did send $25 to Reid's opponent in Nevada!

topflight 5 years, 4 months ago

HO HO HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS. Your gift, a health care bill rammed through in everyway. America, bend over and take it, that is your gift from the annointed one. YEAH RIGHT, annointed one my a--. I got your "VOTE FOR CHANGE". Time to vote these crap democrats out in 2010. That is the only way "we the people" can take charge in our country again.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

This is one of the best things to happen to this country in a long time. It is something that needs to be done. My family will hold a party when President Obama signs the bill into law. I am going to get a picture of him signing it, frame it and hang it in the living room. Thank you Jesus, thank you! I know there are many out there saying that right this minute. People who voted for him. People who know that he is a decent man, a God fearing man, America's man, President Barrack Hussein Obama.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish-

Hold a party for the trillions your children have to pay.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

I want to take some white shoe polish, write "Ben Nelson Sucks," and drive through Nebraska.

james bush 5 years, 4 months ago

All together now............mmm, mmm, mmm, Barak Hussein Obama......with repetition....mmm, mmm, mmm.......................

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

"Obama's Latest Health Care Lie Matt Welch | December 22, 2009 That would be in remarks the president made yesterday: "The Congressional Budget Office now reports that this bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade, and by as much as $1.3 trillion in the decade after that. So I just want to be clear, for all those who are continually carping about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years, and by over a trillion in the second. That argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water." There are actually multiple lies and deceptions in this paragraph, beginning with the verb "reports" to describe what the Congressional Budget Office does. The CBO, as Peter Suderman documented in his foundational Reason feature on the organization, does not "report," it "projects," in highly speculative fashion, what a proposed piece of legislation may cost. What's more, as Suderman detailed in a more recent piece that every American should read before listening to a word the president says, the CBO is bound in its "scoring" to take at face value what every living politician–Obama included–knows to be a stinking lie. That is, Congress' promises to make hundreds of billions of dollars worth of unspecified future spending "cuts." From the article: And then the cost-curve will BEND![A]s the health care debate has progressed throughout the year, Congressional Democrats have become far more adept at getting the CBO to count the beans just the way they want. [...] Indeed, they have become so skilled at getting what they want out of the CBO that the office has taken to including strongly worded warnings that the various bills' real costs may not actually match their estimates. [...]" Read the rest at: http://reason.com/blog/2009/12/22/obamas-latest-health-care-lie

jayhawkframer 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah Irish, This is great my tax dollars going to help people more dead beats. I believe some people do need help, but most people just need to get off there a$$ and do something for them selves. Not sit there and wonder when the next hand out is coming. This is the last thing this country needs. Sorry grandkids here is more spending for you to deal with. This president and congress are a joke.

Boeing 5 years, 4 months ago

Just when I start to forget why I voted against Obama, he reminds me oh so clearly. Can't wait for all of these idiots to lose their jobs - Reid, Pelosi, Nelson, Obama. I hope bad things against them, because they clearly do against me.

BlackVelvet 5 years, 4 months ago

I believe I shall become a criminal and go to PRISON and get free health care. Much better than what you regular "citizen taxpayers" will be getting! Yeah, that's just what I'll do. Or I'll become a Senator and have a much better health care system than you little people.....so many decisions....

leedavid 5 years, 4 months ago

Billions spent to get the bill through in sweetheart deals, and 26 million of the 40 million uninsured still will not have health insurance. Change we can believe in....Don't you just love the new math?

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says…

"This is one of the best things to happen to this country in a long time. It is something that needs to be done."

Okay, Irish, what the heck, it's a slow night - care to take a whack at explaining exactly why this bill is such a good thing?

BlackVelvet 5 years, 4 months ago

I think Irish is smokin' some seriously good stuff!

phoggyjay 5 years, 4 months ago

so everyone didn't have a problem with Bush giving wall st. a bailout in almost the same amount? i'm a cancer survivor, and i'd like to know why the health care bill is so bad when nobody will cover my ass while most of you posting have insurance! nobody will give me a second chance to stay cancer free! think about it. merry christmas all you scrooges!

leedavid 5 years, 4 months ago

Phoggyjay, no one said health care does not need to be reformed. The present bill and the turning of congress into a brothel to get it passed is what we have been talking about. Merry Christmas to you too.

salad 5 years, 4 months ago

Right wing nazis, conservatards, Bush-appologists, and neo-cons: Prepare to reap what you have sown.

leedavid 5 years, 4 months ago

Salad....are you OK....someone need to toss your salad, add dressing? Because trying to understand what you wrote looks like your salad may be short a few bacon bits.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

Is doing business under the cover of darkness going to be SOP for the collection of strumpets otherwise known as the Senate now?

salad 5 years, 4 months ago

"Because trying to understand what you wrote looks like your salad may be short a few bacon bits. "

...or you're not very smart. Certainly your wordsmithing is....lacking. You're the guy at a party who repeats the his funny comments, because he thinks nobody heard him or got the wit. Try again sport.

leedavid 5 years, 4 months ago

Salad:

Speaking of wordsmithing...this is you right? "Right wing nazis, conservatards, Bush-appologists, and neo-cons: Prepare to reap what you have sown."

LOL!!!! Your a regular word scholar.

salad 5 years, 4 months ago

"Your a regular word scholar. "

Correct.

You still don't get it, though. I think you and your ilk can rightly look in the mirror and say, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

leedavid 5 years, 4 months ago

Salad: OhI get it alright. All you have is name calling and hatred. I wish you the very best Christmas ever.

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