Democrats Vote To Start Debate On Healthcare Bill

No big surprise here after the events in the days and hours leading up to the vote.  Lieberman and Nelson caved and then the Southern Belles sealed the deal.

The Senate voted along party lines Saturday night to overcome a Republican filibuster and bring to the floor a bill that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system.

After days of indecision, the last two Democratic holdouts — Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) — joined their caucus in supporting a motion to begin debate. The 60 to 39 vote marks a milestone in the decades-old quest for health-care reform, President Obama’s top legislative priority.

We all know about the 3 million reasons why Landrieu voted for the bill, but Lincoln has no excuse.  Her approval rating is tanking in Arkansas and if the bill passes (God forbid), her constituents can place the blame on her for allowing it to move forward. 

Battle lost, but the war rages on.

Melt the phones – don’t let up.

Senate Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Joe’s Revenge: Lieberman Will Filibuster Public Option; Landrieu, Lincoln & Nelson Also Holding Their Ground

Democrats and the sneering editors at Newsweek should stop worrying about a “problem like Sarah” and look within their own dysfunctional party at who could ultimately kill the public option or the health care bill in its entirety.

Joe Lieberman:

“I don’t think about that stuff,” Lieberman told POLITICO this week. “I’m just — I’m being a legislator. After what I went through in 2006, there’s nothing much more that anybody [who] disagrees with me can try to do.”

 Lieberman left the Democratic Party in 2006 after liberal Ned Lamont beat him in Connecticut’s Democratic Senate primary. Lieberman defeated Lamont in the general election and returned to Washington as an independent, where he continues to caucus with Democrats — even though he accuses them of engaging in a bit of bait and switch when it comes to the public option.

“It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option,” Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered.

“It suddenly becomes a litmus test. I thought Democrats were against litmus tests.”

Mary Landrieu:

Landrieu told CNN she has concerns relating to the bill’s costs to small businesses and individuals. She also expressed opposition to a public health insurance option “that will undermine the private insurance market.” If that’s included in the measure, she said, “it needs to come out at some point.”

Ben Nelson:

Ben Nelson, a key conservative Senate Democrats, said on Wednesday that he was pleased with the changes party leadership had made to health care legislation, specifically on matters of deficit reduction. But the Nebraska senator, whose vote has been elusive to pin down so far, said he would be comfortable being the lone Democrat to prevent the bill from overcoming a Republican filibuster.

“I’m very comfortable having my vote, whatever it is, whichever way it goes,” Nelson said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “I’ve said that from the beginning. There are other ways. I just have to make a decision based on what I think is best for the people of Nebraska and the people of our country. And then we will let the chips fall wherever they fall.”

Blanche Lincoln:

Her vote will be the most politically painful no matter what she does.  Her poll numbers in Arkansas are tanking; at last check her approval rating was at 43% which is down 11 points from last year  Not only will she face a tough race against one of seven potential Republican candidates, she could end up fighting for a place on the ticket against a primary challenger from her own party.

If Lincoln supports the Senate bill, she will have to sell it to constituents before they see many of the legislation’s benefits. But she says she is well aware of the challenge. “I have no doubt that I’ll be held accountable on this,” she said. “We’re going to be held accountable on a lot of things.”

How’s that super majority working out for you, Barry?