Long Fight Ahead After Finance Vote
By Ben Pershing
The Senate Finance Committee's stint in the driver's seat of the health-care debate is nearing its end, as the panel will vote Tuesday at long last to approve its reform bill and send it out to compete with the other four measures already approved by congressional committees.
The vote "is expected to underscore the deep partisan divisions that have emerged and hardened over five months of debate," the Washington Post writes. After all that work by Max Baucus in public and private to court Republicans, the only member of the minority who may vote with the majority is Olympia Snowe, and she has yet to telegraph her intentions. Politico Pulse goes through all of Snowe's considerations and how a yes vote or a no vote would be covered, and then concludes: "Snowe has left herself enough room that no matter how she votes today she'll be able to change it later." The Hill warns that Snowe could be "risking a shot" at the top GOP slot on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee if she votes with Democrats on health care.
Given that four other committees have already approved legislation, why all the fuss over Finance? The Associated Press reminds us that Finance's "moderate makeup most closely resembles the Senate as a whole. And the committee's centrist legislation is seen as the best building block for a compromise plan that could find favor on the Senate floor." Looking ahead, the New York Times examines the controversy over a proposed tax on "Cadillac" plans, which has drawn particular criticism in the House. The Wall Street Journal points out that once the two Senate bills are blended, they have to be vetted "with all Senate Democrats and analyzed by the [CBO], steps that would push back debate in the full Senate until the week of Oct. 26."
Posted at 8:23 AM ET on Oct 13, 2009
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