Senate GOPs Fail to Delay Health Care Debate
Published: December 18, 2009
In an attempt to delay the debate on health care, Senate Republicans tried to filibuster a defense spending bill early Friday morning, the Washington Post reports. They failed, as a 63 to 33 vote now allows the Senate to approve the legislation on Saturday and return to the health debate.
The vote was unusual for Republicans, who have been the strongest supporters of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and have continuously accused Democrats of not supporting the troops. The maneuver was only designed to delay a vote on health care so that the Democrats’ goal – to approve a bill before Christmas – would fail.
Democrats in the Senate are still trying to secure Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) vote, after he rejected an abortion compromise this week. He said he won’t support the bill unless it clearly bans abortion from federal funding. If an agreement with Nelson can be reached by Saturday, Democrats hope they will vote on the bill before Christmas and reached their deadline.
Democrats were furious at the filibuster attempt on Pentagon funds. “They are prepared to jeopardize funding for troops at war,” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday evening. “If Democrats did that, there would be cries of treason.”
That final defense vote will clear the way for Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to return to the health-care debate, making Nelson the most closely watched man in the Senate.
Earlier Thursday, in an interview with a Nebraska radio station, Nelson said that even if the abortion issue is resolved, he still might not support the $848 billion package because of concerns that a provision to dramatically expand Medicaid would burden the states unduly.
Photo via The L Magazine