Friday, December 25, 2009
Another Health Care Hurdle ClearedAmazingly, that 60-vote bloc of Democrats and Independents hung together through a series of cloture votes and the Senate was finally able to pass their version of a health care bill. The final bill only needed 50 votes, but, in a rare Christmas eve sunrise session, the Senate voted for the bill 60-39. Every Reactionary voted no -- they'd probably kick anyone who voted aye out of the party. The final vote took about 15 minutes, the entire session lasted about 30, then lawmakers headed out of town.
The senator that didn't show up for the vote was Jim Bunning (R-Ky). The Louisville Courier-Journal says this "caps a year of unusual incidents involving the senator." Bunning has missed 21 votes this month, one more than the ailing 92-year-old Robert Byrd.
If you slept through your high school civics class, we now have two versions of a health care bill; one from the House and one from the Senate, and there are significant differences that will have to be reconciled. The House bill is better, but the final bill will look more like the Senate bill to make it through the 60-vote gauntlet again. The House is back in session on January 12; the Senate on January 19. President Obama would like to have a bill to sign before the State of the Union address, but final passage might slip on into February.
Paul Krugman weighs in...
If progressives want more, they’ll have to make changing those Senate rules a priority. They’ll also have to work long term on electing a more progressive Congress. But, meanwhile, the bill the Senate has just passed, with a few tweaks — I’d especially like to move the start date up from 2014, if that’s at all possible — is more or less what the Democratic leadership can get.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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