I woke up this morning and it was actually snowing in The Dalles, OR. This is very unusual for this time of year, but I took this as a sign that my prediction for the Senate Finance votes would hold true. Senator Snowe is going to remain a key figure in reform efforts in the Senate.
The Senate Finance Committee today has approved the $829 billion health care package and as predicted Senators Snowe, Rockefeller and Wyden voted in favor. Unsurprisingly the rest of the Republicans voted against. With Wyden, Rockefeller and Lincoln supporting the bill, and a veneer of bipartisanship with Snowes support, this makes some significant legislative prgress for reform efforts. Ezra Klein gives a great overview today of how Wyden's support was gained. President Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House, said, "I never count chickens before they hatch, but this is obviously another step forward in bringing about a better deal for the American people."
Senator Lieberman said today that he would vote against the bill in its present form on the Senate floor. Liberman doesn't sit on the Finance Committee, but his vote might be crucial to stop a filibuster. Senator Snowe voted for the bill, but it might be difficult to keep her support if major changes are made as it winds its way through the legislative process.
"So is this bill all that I want? Far from it," Snowe said in anticipation of the roll call vote. But she said the consequences of not acting were too grave, and that she wanted to keep the legislative process moving ahead while Senate and House leaders seek an acceptable compromise. "There are many, many miles to go in this national journey," she said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., left, shakes hands with committee member Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah,looks on at center, after a committee vote regarding the health care reform bill, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. With support from a lone Republican, Snowe, a key Senate committee approved a middle-of-the-road health care plan that moves President Barack Obama's goal of wider and affordable coverage a giant step closer to becoming law. The committee's ranking Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa is at right. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)