Senate Passes Health Care Hurdle

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Dec 21, 2009 7:49 AM
At 1:30AM today, with most of D.C. snowed in, the Senate voted for cloture on the final version of Obamacare. It will be subject to two more cloture votes in the Senate, though this vote was thought to be the most significant. Then, the bill must be reconciled with the House version, a process that will probably be painful.

Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and conservative Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska were given personal favors in order to win their vote. The legislation mandates the purchase of health care, subsidizes the insurance for low-income people, and provides tax breaks or penalties for businesses who do not provide it for their employees. It cuts Medicare by over $150 billion, increases taxes on anyone making over $88,200, and clocks in at over 2,733 pages.

Here's Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's statement:

Any challenge of this size and scope has always been dealt with on a bipartisan basis.  The senior Senator from Maine made that point at the outset of the debate, and reminded us all how these things have been handled throughout history..

The Social Security Act of 1935 was approved by all but six members of the Senate.  The Medicare and Medicaid Acts of 1965 were approved by all but 21.  All but eight senators voted for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Americans believe that on issues of this importance, one party should never be allowed to force its will on the other half of the nation.  The proponents of this bill felt differently.

In a departure from history, Democrat leaders put together a bill so heavy with tax hikes, Medicare cuts and government intrusion, that, in the end their biggest problem wasn’t convincing Republicans to support it, it was convincing the Democrats.